Row deepens in APC over Buni

The row that erupted in the All Progressives Congress (APC), following the Supreme Court judgment which upheld Ondo State Governor Rotmi Akeredolu’s election, deepened yesterday.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s political adviser Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Presidential aide on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang, said yesterday that the party’s National Caretaker Committee had lost legitimacy.

Their position is in sync with that expressed on Wednesday by Minister of State for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo (SAN).

Former Attorney-General of Ondo State Isaac Kekemeke also spoke in a similar fashion.

There were also groups within and outside the party that said the Yobe governor’s caretaker committe stay in office will put the party’s future in judicial jeopardy.

But, the party said there is no cause for alarm. Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege and party chieftain Chief Adeniyi Akintola defended Buni.

On Wednesday, while delivering the minority judgment in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Eyitayo Jegede and Governor Akeredolu’s case, three Justices of the Supreme Court averred that the Yobe State governor’s position as party’s caretaker chairman was contrary to Section 180 of the Constitution.

The judgment was read on behalf of the three Justices by Justice Mary Peter-Odili.

A joint statement by Ojudu and Enang reads: “While congratulating His Excellency, the Governor of Ondo State on the majority judgment of the Supreme Court upholding his election by striking out the petition, decisions affecting the legality and status of Caretaker and Extra Ordinary Convention Planning Committee was also delivered.

“It has long been in contention whether unelected officers of a political party can exercise the powers of party vested in the chairman and officers of the Party who ought, by party’s constitution to be elected at duly convened convention of the party at the National level and congresses at state and other levels.

“A cursory reading of the minority judgment, we submit, appears to have swept the carpet of legality off the CECPC rendering it illegal, null, void and of no legal capacity to undertake any action on behalf and in the name of the party.

“Accordingly, in view of the impending ward, Local government, states and zonal congresses and indeed the national convention (which the CECPC was primarily set up to do), it is our view:

That the ward and other congresses scheduled for July 31, 2021 be paused, suspended and put on hold pending the determination of the legal Status of the CECPC to undertake all the activities it so far has, and indeed jurisdiction to conduct the congresses and convention.
That the party carefully and dispassionately cause her team of legal experts to Review, appraise and give considered opinion on the import of the majority and in extreme particular the reasonings in the minority judgment of the Supreme Court as to the legal Status of the CECPC to proceed further with any activity in the name of the party or otherwise.

That options including painful ones, be recommended to perfect the party leadership in the eyes of the Law with legal capacity to do what it ought to do.
That the Team also recommend measures to perfect matters in respect of pending elections and matters to rescue challenged pending processes.
That time, being of the essence, very limited timelines be set for each of the proposed steps.

”One cannot put something on nothing and expects it to stand.

“Finally, this being a Supreme Court judgment, we should be thankful that it has come very early that it will guide our party to victory in 2023 as we mind carefully the legal status of our systems, guiding us on avoidable actions as we approach the 2023 tape to brace successfully.

“As stakeholders, we deem it appropriate to offer our voices to reasonable offers thus far made.”

(THE NATION)