Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has said he has withdrawn from the 2023 Kebbi State governorship race.
“Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has not resigned. He withdrew his ambition to contest for the 2023 Kebbi State gubernatorial elections,” Umar Gwandu, Malami’s spokesman said in a short message to some journalists on Saturday.
He, however, failed to give reasons for the minister’s sudden change of decision.
SaharaReporters had on Friday exclusively reported that Malami withdrew from the governorship race over fears that he might not get the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
There has been a cold political war between the incumbent governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, and Senator Adamu Aliero, over who succeeds the former.
While Bagudu, who chairs the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), is rooting for Malami as his successor, Aliero, a two-term governor of the state, has Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi as his preferred candidate for the APC governorship ticket.
Aliero’s camp has Bala Sani Kangiwa, who was removed during the last state congress of the party as their chairman, while the camp of the governor has Abubakar Kana Zuru as chairman.
Two secretariats of the APC now exist in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.
Fearing he may not get the ticket under the current circumstances, Malami was said to have changed his plan and pulled out of the governorship race.
“He (Malami) actually pulled out of the race because he knows he can’t win without being the Attorney-General,” a source had told SaharaReporters.
Malami, a lawyer from Kebbi State who was hardly known before 2015 when he was appointed into the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, is today one of the richest men in Nigeria.
In 2020, a series of detailed investigations carried out by SaharaReporters showed that Malami had acquired several properties whose value run into many billions of naira since being appointed into the administration of President Buhari as Nigeria’s chief law officer.
For example, the AGF has an underground hotel in Sokoto, three houses at Peace Estate, Abuja, a brand-new state-of-the-art school in Kebbi, two houses for his sons worth N100 million each and a new hotel under construction in the Jabi area of Abuja.
Malami also bought a house worth N150million in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja.
A school located at the back of NITEL in Gesse Phase 1, Birnin Kebbi and a house worth N600 million on Ahmadu Bello Way, Nasarawa GRA, Kano, are among properties acquired by Malami since he became a minister under President Buhari.
The houses he built for his sons in Kebbi are 200 metres apart in a posh part of the city.
That is not all. Malami also built N3billion multipurpose event centre in Kebbi State named Azbir Arena, for his son.
The facility is said to be an entertainment centre with a plaza and a kids’ playing section.
This is apart from Rayhaan Hotel located on Zaria Road, opposite Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, which the AGF massively upgraded using unexplained wealth.
Ever since SaharaReporters published a series of detailed reports exposing these illicit acquisitions, the online news medium has been a target for the AGF’s camp.
Apart from falsely claiming to have sued SaharaReporters over the expository reports he said had damaged his reputation before the world, Malami also issued a petition to the former Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on the issue to arrest the publisher of the online newspaper, Omoyele Sowore.
Despite these questionable acquisitions, Malami continues to portray a saintly stance in the Buhari government whose fight against corruption has been called into serious question in recent times.