Angered at rumours making the round that he is behind the legal logjam at the Abia State of the governorship seat, the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami has ordered both parties involved to awaits the decision of the court.
Mr. Malami through in a statement issues and signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. COMRADE SALIHU OTHMAN ISAH, express his dissatisfaction for dragging him to the Abia State conundrum.
He particular accused some session of the media for supporting and helping peddle what he described as " the insinuations and crass lies".
He statement read:
"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 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."
Mr. Ogah had challenged the emergence of the state governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, as the winner of the Peoples Democratic Party’s ticket in the gubernatorial primaries held in December 2014.
Mr. Ogah said Mr. Ikpeazu had defaulted on his taxes, adding that he submitted fraudulent tax documents to qualify as a candidate in the primaries.
In a verdict delivered by Abang Okon, the FHC in Abuja found Mr. Ikpeazu guilty of the charges and ordered INEC to issue a certificate of return to Mr. Ogah to pave way for his swearing-in.
Mr. Ikpeazu appealed the judgment and notified INEC of the development.
But the electoral umpire went ahead to execute the order of the court, saying it never received any notice of appeal from Mr. Ikpeazu.
Soon as he was in receipt of his certificate of return, Mr. Ogah embarked on a journey to Umuahia, the state capital, to prepare grounds for his swearing-in on Friday.
But while on his way, Mr. Ogah received notifications that Mr. Ikpeazu had secured an injunction from an Abia State high court stopping the Chief Judge of the State, the President of the Customary Court of Appeal and any other judicial officer from swearing in Mr. Ogah as governor.
Mr. Ikpeazu also declared a public holiday for Friday and Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday had already been declared public holidays by the federal government.
Mr. Ogah’s efforts to get sworn-in as governor on Friday morning was thwarted by the absence of the state’s Chief Judge, Theresa Uzoukwu.
Also on Friday morning, INEC finally acknowleged it is in possession of a notice of appeal from Mr. Ikpeazu, but said it did not include a notice of stay-of-execution order from the court.
The uncertainties prompted the police to intensify security activities across the state, its spokesperson said.
Don Awunah, the newly-appointed Force Public Relations Officer, said the police were on the ground to ensure that a peaceful atmosphere is maintained.