The All Progressives Congress has insisted that Governor Mai Mala Buni has the right to act as party's acting chairman.
The All Progressives Congress has claimed Governor Mai Mala Buni's position as the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) is backed by the Supreme Court.
Recall that there had been controversy over Mr Buni’s leadership of the CECPC, after the apex court had recently delivered its judgement in favour of APC’s Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and his challenger, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, over the former’s nomination.
However, a member of the CECPC, Prof. Tahir Mamman SAN has revealed that the apex court held that Mr Buni’s position as Acting Chairman of the committee was not contrary to the provision of Section 183 of the CFRN.
The court maintained that since the position was on a temporary basis, same could not be taken to akin to an executive office or paid employment as envisaged by Section 183 of the CFRN.
The apex court held that, “the law is and still remain that the provisions that govern sponsorship and nomination of candidates in an election are: Sections 31 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.
“That there is no provision in the Electoral Act prescribing any form for forwarding or submission of the sponsored candidate of a political party in an election.
“Sections 177 and 182 of the CFRN which make provisions for qualifications and disqualification of candidates for Governorship election are exhaustive and leave no room for any addition.
“That no other Law/Act can be relied upon to disqualify a candidate in an election save for the provisions of Section 182 of the CFRN.
“That non-compliance with INEC directives (regulations, guidelines or manuals) for the purpose of election but which is not contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act shall not of itself be a ground in an election petition.
“Paragraph 17 (a) of the First Supplementary to Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections cannot be relied upon as ground to question the return of a candidate in an election.
“That sponsorship of a candidate in an election is that of the party and not the individual Officer of the party forwarding the name of the candidate.
“That the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party is empowered to create, elect and appoint Committees (including the instant CECPC) or any other committee it may deem necessary to act in any capacity.
“On the strength of all the above position of the Supreme Court in the instant case and other earlier decided cases cited in support, it is our opinion that the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni is on firm ground to proceed with its mandate as given by the National Executive Committee of the APC.”
On the validity of Mr Buni acting as a sitting Governor in the position of Chairman of the CECPC vis a vis the provisions of Section 183 of the CFRN and Articles, 13.3(vi) and 17(iv) of the Constitution of the APC 2014 (as amended) and the effect on the APC or the qualification of its candidates; the Supreme Court relied copiously on the Judgment of the Court of Appeal and agreed with same in resolving the issue.
“Indeed, the judgment of a Court is the majority judgment, which is the binding judgment: see the Supreme Court case of Orugbo V. Una (2002) 16 NWLR (Pt. 792) 175 SC, hence, the majority Judgment the lead of which was delivered by Honourable Justice Emmanuel Agim is the judgment of the Supreme Court in respect of the Appeal.”