Ikedi Ohakim, the former governor of Imo State, has regretted his relationship with his estranged mistress, his lawyer has said.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the former governor was involved in a dirty fight with a woman, Chinyere Amuchinwa, whom he had a romantic relationship with, and at some point told the police the woman assaulted him inside a hotel room in Abuja.
“This was a very close relationship, Ohakim has admitted to that. He feels sorry, maybe some people could say he strayed from his marriage,” his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor said in an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Wednesday.
“I don’t think he is particularly proud of that relationship with the benefit of hindsight because it is a very close, trusting relationship and he feels sorry that some people might say he is very naïve to have trusted this lady so much to have passed such sum of money even if it came in instalment.”
The lawyer was referring to over a N100 million which Mr Ohakim claimed he gave to Ms Amuchinwa for his failed 2019 governorship campaign in Imo State. She was his campaign co-ordinator in Ideato North, one of the largest local government areas in the state.
The money, the lawyer said, was not given all at once to Ms Amuchinwa, but spread over a long period of time, including money meant for the purchase of vehicles for his domestic and business use, which were never done.
Mr Ohakim, in his petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, said Ms Amuchinwa did not account for the money, an allegation she denied during an interview with PREMIUM TIMES.
Ms Amuchinwa said the former governor could not provide any evidence or witness to substantiate the allegation when the police at the force headquarters requested him to do so.
Mr Ejimakor, however, countered Ms Amuchinwa on this. He said Mr Ohakim told the police his political adviser witnessed it when the money was given to Ms Amuchinwa.
Mr Ohakim’s marriage to his wife, Chioma, remains intact, Mr Ejimakor said.
“He has a very loving, close relationship with his wife, very blissful relationship. He is a proud grandfather. He is a man of fidelity to his marriage, very staunch family man with high value for his wife and family,” the lawyer said.
“The matter of Ohakim being married and a father of many children and grandchildren is a matter of public record, so I think it goes to credibility when someone as close as this lady was to Ohakim now turns around to feign ignorant that Ohakim is not married. I think it’s something the media needs to point to as challenging the credibility of her entire story.”
The lawyer spoke about the January 18 incident at BON Hotel, Abuja, where Mr Ohakim and Ms Amuchinwa are making conflicting claims of assault.
He said Mr Ohakim informed him the police at force headquarters retrieved the CCTV recording of the incident which would help prove that the former governor was allegedly assaulted by the woman.
He said Ms Amuchinwa was arrested and later released by the police based on the petition by the former governor.
“If there was a criminal offence committed, that was the assault experienced by Ohakim,” Mr Ejimakor said. “Ohakim just wanted that to be dealt with and maybe for the lady to be cautioned.”
The lawyer said Mr Ohakim has turned over evidence – like text messages and WhatsApp messages – to the police, including messages which the estranged mistress allegedly apologised to the former governor.
He said it took Ms Amuchinwa seven months to file her counter-petition with the police. “That is why we call the petition an afterthought,” he said.
The lawyer said he doubted if Ms Amuchinwa backed up her petition with evidence. “There was a bit of presumption on the part of Ohakim and the counsels in Abuja that such a weighty petition would have been submitted with certain documents,” he said.
The case is still being investigated by the police, he said.
PREMIUM TIMES told Mr Ejimakor that some Nigerians felt the former governor did not handle the situation properly, and that he should not have allowed the quarrel between him and Ms Amuchinwa to degenerate to a scandalous level and even getting the police to be involved.
“Right from the onset, Dr Ohakim saw the lady’s antics as a brazen act of blackmail and extortion, he never believed for once that this lady was entitled to anything from him. So for him handling it well in terms of how you put it would have meant succumbing to blackmail. He tried what he could within the constraint of the law to ward her off,” the lawyer responded.
“There is no way a friendship with Dr Ohakim, a former governor, or a man of influence and stature, would not have resulted into some windfalls of generosity towards the lady.
“Well, they are no longer friends, they had some kind of relationship, very trusting, very close, why would somebody now turn around demanding for certain things that might have passed in between them as presents and gifts and maybe a bit of contribution to political campaign?
“This lady worked on his campaign, she was in-charge of a very important and populous local government area, Ideato. So if in the course of that she spent money, of course she handled money given to her by Dr Ohakim as well. If in the course of that she overspent by a few of hundreds of thousand or maybe a million, all these things were inside the relationship.
“Dr Ohakim too expended large sum of money on her in the course of this friendship and exposed her to other relationships with other third parties that resulted in financial windfalls in terms of business deals and all that.
“So he felt in his mind that being a strong person and someone with conscience he believed that if he succumb to what he believe to be a blackmail, it would be a blackmail too many. I mean there could be some other person coming around (for similar purpose).
“The lady was claiming over N700 million, then she downgraded it to N610 million. How can anybody just by being a mere politically exposed person quietly part with N600 million just to keep someone from going to the media with some story that is not credible?” the lawyer said.