The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Abia State on Friday accused Governor Alex Otti and the incoming Attorney-General of the Federation, Lateef Fagbemi, of intimidating the state election petition tribunal.
The party and its candidate, Sir Okey Ahiwe are challenging Otti’s victory in the March 18 election over alleged irregularities in the conduct of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Fagbemi, who will be inaugurated as Nigeria’s chief law officer by President Bola Tinubu on Monday, is the governor’s lead counsel at the tribunal and he attended Thursday’s proceeding.
The PDP Acting State Publicity Secretary, Elder Abraham Amah, who made the claim in a statement in Umuahia, said Fagbemi’s presence in court was to intimidate the petitioners and the tribunal members.
The statement read: “Mr. Lateef Fagbemi before his nomination and eventual designation as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer was the lead counsel to Alex Otti and the Labour Party in the petition brought against them by the Peoples Democratic Party and its candidate, Sir Okey Ahiwe, challenging the declaration of Alex Otti as the winner in the Abia 2023 governorship election.
“Mr. Fagbemi’s presence in court yesterday (Thursday) was inconsiderate and as a senior lawyer, he ought to have known that having been nominated, screened, and designated as the Attorney- General and Minister for Justice, he should no longer show up in court for cases in which he has private interests as in the case of Alex Otti and the Labour Party.
“His presence in the tribunal yesterday as a personal lawyer to a private litigant shows a grave and dangerous misunderstanding of the importance of the exalted position he is to occupy and casts doubts about his understanding of the weight and significance of that office.
“It is laughable that Alex Otti and Labour Party took to this panic measure because it has become obvious to them that the weight of evidence against them is highly overwhelming and as they have always done since the tribunal started sitting, employed another needless hardball tactic to truncate the course of justice through technicalities, intimidation and interminable obstructive motions to delay the pronouncement of justice.”
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