….Denies saying President Jonathan ‘ll not sign FOI bill
BY INALEGWU SHAIBU
Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Sen Muhammed Abba Aji, has denied saying there was no vacancy for an Igbo President in 2015.
Senator Abba Aji in a statement, also denied saying that President Goodluck Jonathan will not sign the Freedom of Information Bill when passed by the National Assembly.
He said he was merely drawing attention of the public to conflict between FoI bill and the Oath of Office contained in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
Abba Aji in the statement said: “My attention has been drawn to a screaming headline, ‘2015 Presidency: No vacancy for Igbo-Abba Aji’ I hereby categorically state that I have not at any time made such a statement.
“Contrary to this statement, I strongly believe that my Igbo brothers and sisters have equal rights with all members of other ethnic groups of our nation to seek any public office, including the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“On the issue of the Freedom of Information Bill, what I did was to draw attention to the conflict that in my view, it is likely to have with the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it relates to the Oath of Office and Official Secrecy Act, which is yet to be repealed.
“I also tried to make the distinction between the Freedom of Information Bill which seeks to compel public officers to reveal official matters and the Freedom of Press which is already enshrined as Section 39 of the Constitution.
Senator Abba Aji, who also claimed responsibility for saying that Vice President Namadi Sambo will succeed President Jonathan in 2015, withdrew the statement, saying it was his personal opinion and not that of the Vice President.
“The statement as it relates to Vice President Namadi Sambo is entirely my personal view, which he neither desired nor solicited. I therefore, hereby withdraw it and regret any misunderstanding that it might have generated,” he said.
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I didn’t say no vacancy for Igbo president in 2015- Abba Aji