*Says FG did not instruct INEC to issue Certificate of Return to Ogah
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has distanced himself from the legal crisis rocking Abia State, saying that he is yet to issue any legal opinion on the matter.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Salihu Isah, the AGF said that none of the parties had sought his opinion on the tussle.
The minister said that neither him nor the Federal Government instructed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to Dr Udechukwu Ogah.
However, the minister advised all the parties to await the decision of courts. He however did not say which courts decision. Nevertheless, since an appeal is pending on the judgment of the Federal High Court which removed Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, it is reasonable to conclude that the AGF would want the parties to await the decisions of the appellate court.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the insinuations and crass lies being peddled and disseminated by a cross-section of Nigerians and the various media platforms that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is behind the legal logjam over the Abia state governorship seat and wish to clarify that those canvassing this position have no basis to do so.
“Of particular concern are (sic) those who have peddled ill-natured rumours with a view to misinform our discerning populace that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria that gave directives to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah declaring him Governor-Elect. He has definitely not taken any action either by spoken words or body language as far as this Abia governorship crisis is concerned.
“I wish to therefore, on behalf of my principal declare that these rumours are untrue and a figment of the imagination of those pushing these selfish, shameless and irredeemable lies into public space which only translates to partisanship on the side of its purveyors.
“As far as the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is concerned, the constitutional powers for the legal opinion of his office have not been invoked on this issue. So far, nobody has approached him to proffer any legal opinion to it.
“As a strong believer in the rule of law, it is his belief that the law should naturally take its cause. The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation will not be dragged into this controversy and mind-games being played out by the various legal minds and spin doctors of both camps at this point.
“The parties involved should await the decision of the courts.
“In fact, we wish to by this statement advice those in the habit of dragging the highly esteemed Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice into knotty issue of this kind even when it is yet to take a position. They should desist from these unwarranted presumptions henceforth. “