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APC Governors: Supreme Court Has Validated Buni’s Committee

Lawyers: Supreme Court never affirmed Buni as Caretaker Chairman

ALL Progressives Congress (APC) governors yesterday said the Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo State governorship election has validated the party’s national caretaker committee.

The Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, said a lot of the analyses and interpretations of the judgment were made out of mischief.

The statement reads: “We thank the Supreme Court for this landmark judgment, which, among others, have dealt conclusively with the legality of the APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), its composition, and all its decisions.


“The Supreme Court upheld the finding of the Court of Appeal that the CECPC ‘was set up to act on behalf of the National Executive Committee to temporarily carry out the function of the National Working Committee (NWC) until new members were democratically elected’.

“The Supreme Court upheld further the ruling of the Court of Appeal that ‘it is evident that the said Governor Mai Mala Buni was appointed only in an acting capacity temporarily to temporarily carry out and fill in the seat of the National Chairman of the party pending the elections of new members’. The holding of the Court of Appeal was not appealed against by the appellants, that is, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the last election in Ondo State and the PDP. “According to the Supreme Court, ‘by not appealing against this holding, the parties herein accept it as correct, conclusive and binding upon them’.

But  some lawyers who are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) yesterday warned against the wrong interpretation of the recent Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo State governorship litigation involving Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

They clarified that the jurists never affirmed Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni’s headship of the National Caretaker Committee.

The lawyers said in a statement that there may be trouble for the ruling party, if Buni is joined in subsequent suits.

The statement reads:”We, concerned lawyers within the APC, have read with consternation and embarrassment the mere personal opinion regarding the judgment of the Supreme Court circulated by the legal adviser to the Party as an authentic news item, because he is trying so hard to please his masters and save his job, thereby putting the entire party in danger.

“For the sake of clarity, the Supreme Court did not affirm Buni’s headship of CECPC as lawful. The Supreme Court rather refused to pronounce on it DEFINITIVELY until Buni is made a party to a pre-election matter or a civil suit. The Supreme Court did not even clothe him with immunity in this regard. It was silent on it.”

“The Supreme Court only reaffirmed the right of APC and any political party to constitute Committees like the Caretaker Committee, to run its affairs on an interim basis. Nobody has ever questioned this right. What is in issue is the legality or constitutionality of Buni, a serving governor, appointed to head such a Committee and the full effect of this breach, if considered on the merits.

“At page 37 of the lead judgment, this is what the Supreme Court said;*

“So, the contention that Governor Mai Mala Buni as Governor of Yobe State has violated S.183 of the Constitution by holding the office of acting National Chairman of the 2nd Respondent is a very serious one “with grave consequences for him and no doubt, for the 2nd Respondent (the APC) as well.

“The judicial determination of that issue here would involve the enforcement of the Constitution against him and would certainly affect him personally as I have shown above. It would be unfair to him to try that issue in his absence without joining him as a party to the petition.”*

“So, as it is the APC is still on slippery grounds on this issue. The attention of stakeholders may not have been drawn to these provisions before, but now that they know, should a party like the APC continue on the part of illegality and a violation of its own Constitution? We may have escaped narrowly at the Supreme Court, but must we continue on the part of illegality?

“This is the question all stakeholders must ponder upon.”

“The judgment has also settled the legality of the National CECPC. The court has correctly ruled that in line with Section 13.3 of the APC Constitution, the National CECPC was constituted by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the APC to act as the NWC. This ruling is consistent with the legal advice available to APC in creating the committee and we commend the party’s legal team for the proper and lawful guidance.

“Governor Mai Mala Buni was appointed in an acting capacity, temporarily to carry out and fill in the seat of the National Chairman of the party pending the election of new National Chairman. This has settled conclusively that the APC National CECPC and its composition is not in conflict with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and is consistent with provisions of the Constitution of the APC.

“We congratulate all Nigerians, in particular APC members and supporters across the country. We celebrate this landmark judgment together with all APC leaders, especially President Muhammadu Buhari whose zeal to bequeath a democratic party built bottom-up for the benefit of Nigerians. We congratulate our colleague, His Excellency Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), for the reaffirmation of his electoral victory, which has now ended all electoral disputes around the Ondo State 2020 governorship election.

“We equally extend our appreciations to the APC National CECPC under the able leadership of Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni for the commendable management of the affairs of the party, which has minimised distractions from the task of rebuilding the party. Under the committee, the party has continued to be strengthened and attract more Nigerians.

“Most recently, reports of July 31, 2021, Ward Congresses from all parts of the country has demonstrated once more the commitment of party leaders and members at all levels to the process of rebuilding the APC. The congresses were highly successful.

“We appeal to all members and supporters at all levels to remain resolute and continue to support all initiatives of the APC Caretaker Committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni.”

Also, an Abia State High Court has restrained Buni from accepting the lists of candidates from ward congresses conducted across the 184 electoral wards in the state.

The court also barred APC or anyone acting on its behalf from tampering with the party’s structure in Abia State.

Justice Chibuzo Ahuchaogu, who delivered the verdict, also barred APC in the state and the national leadership of the party from conducting local government and state congresses, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“The order is equally granted in the interim restraining the first and second respondents by themselves, agents, servants and privies from dissolving and/or tampering with the duly constituted party structure of the APC in Abia State from the wards, local government and the state, led by the 10th respondent (Donatus Nwankpa), pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice,” the judge said.

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