The Federal Government has distanced itself from the political crisis currently rocking Abia State.
The federal government, which made its stance known through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, debunked the rumours in some quarters that it prodded the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to issue Certificate of Return to Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, declaring him Governor-Elect.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja had last Monday ordered the Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu to vacate office over alleged tax fraud.
Justice Abang, who found the governor guilty of the allegation, also ordered the INEC to issue a fresh Certificate of Return to Mr. Ogah, who came second in the December 2014 primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that produced Ikpeazu.
SEE: Abia Stalemate: AGF Cuts Short Pilgrimage, To Return Monday
Though INEC had since complied with the other, an Abia High Court restrained the State Chief Judge, Justice Theresa Uzokwe, from swearing Ogah in.
Reacting to political events in the state, Mr. Malami, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah and issued to journalists in Abuja on Sunday, urged all the parties involved in the governorship tussle to await “decision of the courts” on the matter.
The AGF pointed out that so far, nobody has approached him to proffer any legal opinion on the governorship crisis.
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 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”.