There was uproar at the Abia state governorship petition tribunal sitting in Umuahia, yesterday, as the Justice minister-designate, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, showed up at the sitting of the tribunal.
Fagbemi is the lead counsel to Governor Alex Otti , who is the candidate of the Labour Party in the suit filed by the PDP and APC and their candidates, Chief Okey Ahiwe and Chief Ikechi Emenike, respectively.
Though Fagbemi did not announce appearance at the hearing, his presence in court and sitting with Otti’s lawyers caused some ‘murmuring’ in the court. Lawyers were observed discussing the situation.
A lawyer who pleaded anonymity, condemned Fagbemi’s presence at the court sitting and described it as an attempt to ‘intimidate members of the tribunal’ with his new office. According to the lawyer, “after his nomination by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his screening, clearance and confirmation by the Senate to serve as a Federal Minister, and having been assigned the portfolio of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I thought that Chief Lateef Fagbemi , SAN, should no longer show up in court for private cases in which he has interests like that of Mr. Otti”.