Abia Stalemate: AGF Cuts Short Pilgrimage, To Return Monday

Ogah-IkpeazuThe political logjam in Abia State may be resolved this week with the arrival of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) from Saudi Arabia.

Malami was in the Holy land for lesser Hajj when a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja sacked Governor Okezie Ikpeazu from office and ordered the immediate issuance of certificate of return to Sampson Ogah.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, complied with the court order last Thursday and issued Ogah with a certificate of return.

However, Gov. Ikpeazu said a notice of appeal and stay of execution had been filed and served on INEC, vowing not to vacate office until he has exhausted every legal avenue to challenge the high court’s ruling.

The situation has created a legal conundrum in Abia as two persons – Ikpeazu and Ogah – are laying claim to the governorship seat.

It was learnt that the AGF had to cut short his pilgrimage to return to the country to give President Muhammadu Buhari legal advice on the governorship tussle in the Southeast state.

Malami may return to the country tomorrow in connection with the development, a source said.

In the meantime, the president has ordered security agencies to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order in Abia.

A top government source said: “The president is awaiting legal advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice who has been away to Saudi Arabia for the lesser Hajj.

“In line with his commitment to the Rule of Law, there is nothing the president can do without a legal opinion.

“The AGF is expected back in the country on Monday and from then we may get a legal opinion on the situation in the state”.

Another source said President Buhari had taken appropriate steps to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the state.

The source said: “All security agencies have been ordered to beef up security and prevent acts capable of causing unrest and breaches in the state.

“In line with the directive, security agencies have extracted commitment from Ikpeazu and Ogah that they will not take the laws into their hands. This was why the state Director of DSS had audience with Ogah on Thursday. The sitting governor has also given assurance to continue to ensure peace in the state”.