Former minister of Health, Prof Eyitayo Lambo, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo (SAN), Mr Tunde Ipinmisho (FNGE) and Major Gen. Julius Oshanupin (Rtd) on Tuesday distanced themselves from a statement which purportedly claimed they have endorsed Senator Dino Melaye.
They made their positions known in a statement jointly signed by the four of them and made available to Daily Trust in Lokoja to counter one issued by the Okun Development Initiative (ODI) which named them as signatories.
"We wish to state that we do not know ODI and have no relationship with the body in any form whatsoever. It therefore follows that we did not and indeed could not have signed any statement for an organisation with which we are not affiliated.
"We have earned our reputations through decades of hard work and would go to any length to resist attempts by anybody or group to draw us into the mess going on in Kogi State.
"This forgery is unacceptable to us and we demand an immediate retraction and an apology from those behind it."
In a similar development, the Okun Development Initiative (ODI) has also come out to declare its position over a press statement purportedly issued by the group over Dino's recall saga.
Spokesperson of ODI, Apostle Olalekan Aiyenigba, in a statement in Lokoja said there was "a puerile attempt by some faceless individuals to twist a recent press release by ODI on the recall saga and a clarification is therefore desirable".
"For the avoidance of doubt, the position of ODI is explicit on the observed irregularities in the process so far but there was never any mention of the collated signatures not being of Kogi West constituents though there have been allegations of forgery in the process. To caption a press release differently to mislead is not only indecent but fraudulent.
"The authors of the edited version of the press release are not only ignorant they are mischievous. Answers to the following questions become imperative: Why mix up ODA with ODI? Are Prof. Lambo, Gen. Oshanupin and Mr. Tunde Ipinmisho ODA leaders? Certainly not but they are more appropriately Okun Think Tank (OTT) leaders.
"Why attempt to authenticate a supposed ODI statement using names of OTT leaders? The press release posted by Dcn Olusuyi Otitoju is captioned 'Sen Dino Melaye's recall attempt, our stand - Okun Development Initiative (ODI) is the position of ODI on the recall saga after opinions were aggregated from Okun persons across board.
"Every other version should therefore be disregarded as the original press release is unambiguous and needs no interpretation.This is to correct any misconception as it were and the positions restated below captures the stand of ODI.
"Evidence abound that the recall process was instigated and funded by forces outside Kogi West though certain Okun persons were pushed forward to implement it.
"Allegations abound and were strident of financial inducements and signatures forgery. ODI unequivocally restate that, if and when a recall is desirable in Okunland, it must be a genuine aspiration of Okuns and not at the instance of individuals or groups outside.
"ODI also reiterates that the process shall be meticulously monitored to ensure strict compliance with all legal provisions. This remain the stand of ODI on the recall saga of Sen. Dino Melaye,” ODI said in the statement.