Aondoakaa attacks Akunyili over Yar’Adua

Prof Dora Akunyili

Ministers are poised for a showdown over Prof. Dora Akunyili’s memo for President Umaru Yar’Adua to hand over to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

A taste of what to expect at Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting emerged yesterday, with Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Michael Aondoakaa (SAN) accusing the Information and Communication Minister of “trying to make herself an angel and a cheap hero”. 

But Mrs Akunyili vowed not to succumb to “cheap blackmail”, cautioning that “those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”. 

Mrs Akunyili’s memo is prejudicial and subjudice because there is a case before the Court of Appeal on the issue, Aondoakaa said. 

The Minister described Mrs Akunyili as a self-seeking office holder who wants to make herself a cheap hero. 

Aondoakaa said: “Well, first, she did not understand the constitution and she is not following events in the country. I think she was just trying to make herself a cheap hero out of that. If you see what the Senate said, the Senate made an appeal. She does not need the FEC to make an appeal; she can also make her appeal. 

“The Senate said it was appealing. You saw the spokesman of the Senate eventually came out and said they have no power to compel the man. Now, there is even a court decision that says that transmission of letter shall be voluntary. It is within the President.

“Bringing the memo to the FEC is just to make herself an angel. She wants to be seen as a populist. Whatever she wants to gain from it is still personal. None of the FEC members has disrespect for the Vice-President. As far as we are concerned, the VP is our leader and he is leading us. What she is trying to do is self-seeking; let her go and confront herself with what happened in NAFDAC. 

“We are working as a team and the AGF is there. You cannot just come out as an island and take a decision and try to rock the boat without even consulting your colleagues. Just because the next day the press will bring you out and make you a hero and others as villains. 

“But you will discover that out of the ministers, others are working assiduously to make the VP have full presidential powers without talking to anybody. In fact the public does not know that they are the ones working to make the VP assume full powers to carry the country forward. They don’t go to pages of the papers to talk but they are working tirelessly to make sure that this thing works and the country moves forward.” 

Akunyili warned that those castigating her to first examine themselves. 

The Minister, who spoke through her Special Assistant, Mr. Orji Ogbonaya Orji, said no amount of intimidation would make her deviate from the path of constitutionality and the side of Nigerians on the need for Yar’Adua to transmit a letter to the National Assembly. 

Orji said: “First, Prof. Dora Akunyili will not dignify such a statement with any response. I do not want to believe that the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation could cast aspersions on the integrity of Prof. Dora Akunyili and that is why my boss will not like to dignify this with any response because all Nigerians are aware of her excellent service to the nation as Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). 

“Her service in NAFDAC remains a positive reference point till today. However, we are aware that for the fact that Prof. Akunyili has blown the whistle through her memo to the Federal Executive Council, all kinds of spurious allegations and cheap blackmail will begin to come in from quarters clearly opposed to her position to stand on the side of Nigerians and the law of the land. 

“But we wish to caution that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones because when you point a finger at your perceived enemies, the other four are pointing at you. 

“Let it be known that Prof. Akunyili remains a loyal member of this administration and will not succumb to any cheap blackmail.”

culled from THE NATION