A member of the House of Representatives, Basher Isah, has defended Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), over the criticisms trailing the distribution of cars at his governorship campaign in Kebbi State.
Isah, who is representing Argungu/Augie Federal Constituency in Kebbi State at the House, however, stated that Malami has to resign as minister ahead of the governorship primary in the state, in compliance with Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
While Malami is against the law and is challenging it in court, the lawmaker stated that he stands with the National Assembly on the clause.
“Malami, like myself, has collected nomination forms for the positions we are vying for. But Malami will have to resign before party primaries for governorship aspirants,” he said.
According to Isah, Malami stands a better chance of winning the governorship election in Kebbi in 2023 than any other person across political parties.
The lawmaker, who spoke to journalists in Abuja on Thursday, claimed that the minister’s “popularity and intimidating credentials” pushed his opponents within and outside the ruling All Progressives Congress into spreading falsehoods against Malami.
He said the latest falsehood include the criticism of car distributions during his campaign and the list of people granted a presidential pardon by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), upon the approval of the National Council of State.
He said, “Those who are behind the falsehood against the AGF are those who wanted to contest the next governorship elections with him but have suddenly discovered that he is much more popular than them and that the best thing is to tarnish his image. The allegations against the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), are mere hearsay. They are false.
“It is true that he distributed cars to some people but the critics had blown it out of proportion. They are accusing him of distributing cars to delegates. Some others are saying that the cars were from the customs auctions which is not true at all. How can they possibly believe that a man who has more than over 1000 delegates to contend with would distribute cars to all of them? He cannot do that.
“It is not also true that he collected cars from the Nigeria Customs Service because the Comptroller General of the NCS did not give more than three cars to any individual in an auction, no matter the status in the society. It is one of his associates that supported his governorship aspirations in Kebbi State with the 10 cars. It is a common thing. The allegations are completely false which should be disregarded by the public.
“One of the honourable members (of the House) in the state recently distributed close to 100 cars to constituents without complaints or criticisms from anybody.”
The lawmaker added, “The same political detractors against Malami had earlier attempted to tarnish his image with alleged wrong person that found his way into the presidential pardon list, forgetting that the list was not compiled by Malami but a committee set up for that purpose by Mr. President.”
The PUNCH had on March 19, 2022, reported that some of the President’s ministers who are said to be planning to run for different offices include Malami; the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who is believed to be planning to contest the governorship of Katsina State; the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who has declared to contest 2023 presidential election.
Others are the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige; the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
Already, some governors had issued circulars calling on their appointees who had political ambitions to resign before March 30 in accordance with the now-deleted Section 84(10) of the Act.
The Act reads, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
With the deletion of this section, ministers, commissioners, and aides to governors will now be able to contest while retaining their positions.
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