DaugEmbassyTV learned today that Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola has been reportedly seen in London disguised as a physically-challenged elderly man, purportedly in preparation for a secret meeting with President-elect Bola Tinubu. Sources from the Supreme Court have confirmed this clandestine move by the Chief Justice, raising concerns about the motive behind this disguise and the nature of the impending meeting with Tinubu.
DaugEmbassyTV uncovered Mr. Ariwoola’s movements while Mr. Tinubu was coincidentally arriving in London for what his team claimed was a relaxation trip, following a grueling campaign that led to his declaration as Nigeria’s president-elect last month. However, Mr. Tinubu had kept his trip to London under wraps until Sahara Reporters broke the news on Wednesday afternoon, stating that it was due to a medical emergency.
Sources from DaugEmbassyTV have revealed that Mr. Ariwoola left Nigeria on March 11 through Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, and was wheeled in a wheelchair through the airport terminals to board a British Airways flight. Upon arrival in London, the 64-year-old was also pushed in a wheelchair to a hotel downtown, where he has stayed since. However, upon checking in, Mr. Ariwoola allegedly abandoned his wheelchair and moved around the hotel unaided, raising questions about the authenticity of his disguise as a physically challenged old man. It is important to note that the Chief Justice is not known to have any physical disabilities.
According to a source familiar with the Chief Justice’s activities at the London hotel, Mr. Ariwoola has been moving around without any wheelchair, and was even seen standing on his own in the elevator just yesterday. DaugEmbassyTV has also learned that he has been picking up food ordered via delivery services, such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo, at a mid-level lobby. However, it remains unclear whether he placed the orders himself or how he paid for them.
Sources have revealed that now that Mr. Tinubu is in Europe, he is set to have a secret meeting with Mr. Ariwoola to discuss unknown issues that have not been disclosed to the public. According to insiders, the Chief Justice left Nigeria more than a week ahead of Tinubu to avoid raising suspicion about why both of them disappeared at the same time. This explains why they both traveled secretly. Following reports of Mr. Tinubu’s trip to Europe, his media aides released a statement saying he would briefly be in Paris and London before embarking on prayer rites in Saudi Arabia. However, his return date was not disclosed.
Many Nigerians have expressed doubts about the credibility of the statement issued by Mr. Tinubu’s media aides, especially since it was not disclosed before the trip was uncovered. According to a source, they believed that they could secretly move the president-elect abroad without anyone noticing, which turned out to be a grave mistake. The fact that they allowed the Chief Justice of Nigeria to move about in a London hotel for several days undetected after going through the trouble of disguising him in a wheelchair was another misstep.
To protect a source central to this story, DaugEmbassyTV has temporarily withheld the photos of the CJN and the specific hotel he stayed in.
According to a Supreme Court source, Mr. Ariwoola wanted to meet with Mr. Tinubu to discuss potential issues that may arise from the budding legal challenge to the declaration as president-elect. This included whether or not Mr. Tinubu should be concerned about the petitions recently filed by opposition parties.
The source stated that during the secret meeting, the CJN would either assure Mr. Tinubu of victory in court or tell him that he should be concerned about the potential outcomes of the petitions. However, the source also noted that the content of their discussion remains unknown.
The source further added that meeting in a foreign location to discuss something that Nigerians are not aware of is highly suspicious and unwarranted.
When asked for a comment about Mr. Ariwoola’s secret trip to London, Festus Akande, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, abruptly hung up on DaugEmbassyTV. This brazen partisanship raises further questions about the true nature of Mr. Ariwoola’s trip to London and the motives behind his meeting with Mr. Tinubu.
The suspicious activity of Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and his apparent affinity with President-elect Bola Tinubu has continued to raise questions, especially as the Supreme Court is expected to play a crucial role in the legal battle challenging Tinubu’s declaration as president-elect. DaugEmbassyTV has learned that Ariwoola traveled to London disguised as a physically challenged old man to meet with Tinubu to discuss issues that may arise from the legal challenge, including whether or not Tinubu should be worried about the petitions filed by opposition parties. However, the nature of their discussion is unknown. While the Supreme Court and Tinubu’s spokespersons declined to comment, many Nigerians are expressing doubts about the credibility of the president-elect’s recent trip to Europe, especially as his media aides did not disclose his destination until it was uncovered.
The controversy surrounding Mr Ariwoola’s recent secret trip to London to meet with Mr Tinubu is likely to further erode public confidence in the Supreme Court as an impartial arbiter of justice in Nigeria. Critics have already been pointing to the court’s recent controversial judgments, including the decision to return Hope Uzodinma as governor in Imo despite coming fourth in an election and the enforcement of Ahmad Lawan as APC candidate in Yobe North Senatorial District despite not participating in the primaries, as well as Mr Ariwoola’s previous comments praising Seyi Makinde for working internally to sabotage the candidacy of Mr Abubakar. While both Mr Ariwoola and the Supreme Court have reassured Nigerians that justice will be dispensed fairly according to the Constitution, the secrecy and apparent partisanship surrounding Mr Ariwoola’s meeting with Mr Tinubu will likely do little to assuage concerns about the integrity of the court.