Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi
Kebbi State Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has said that President Muhammad Buhari and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, have not violated the Nigerian constitution for attended to the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Executive Council (NEC) virtual meeting from the presidential villa.
Bagudu, who is also the Chairman of Progressives Governor’s Forum (PGF), explained that the group would work for the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidates in the forthcoming Edo and Ondo states governorship elections.
Bagudu stated this on Monday in Birnin Kebbi at an interaction with newsmen on national issues.
Reacting to insinuations in some quarters that President Buhari had violated the constitution, Bagudu said: ‘It is that party that sponsors people and has obligation for anybody who is a president who contested under its platform; hence belonging to a political party is not partisanship.
‘This is created by the qualifying section of the constitution without which he or she cannot even contest the presidency or any political position. So, this partisanship, if belonging to a political party can be described as such, is constitutional as it is imposed upon us by the constitution,’ he said.
Bagudu noted that President Buhari would possibly another if the law had allowed him to contest as an Independent candidate, citing the president’s popularity.
‘But unfortunately, the Nigerian constitution necessitates aspirants that can only contest under a party platform and Buhari contested under a party, won and took oath of office.
‘I don’t know of any sentence in that oath of office that could have been violated by president attending a political party meeting in a virtual manner.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic made the President adjust his itineraries and activities so that he can participate in activities and meetings across the country as part of his official duties and obligation to a political party in a virtual manner.
‘We should all remember that, were the meeting to have held at APC headquarters, the president would have attended and that is not partisanship.
‘The president has to attend the activities of his political party and he has to pay his dues for being a member of the political party; so when circumstances had dictated that he participated in the meeting in a virtual manner, and in a place set for him to participate as he had been participating in many virtual events, it is unfair to call it a violation of the constitution,’ Bagudu argued.
On the Attorney-General Malami’ s role in the swearing-in of the Chairman of Caretaker Committee, Gov. Mai Mana Buni, Bagudu said that the action of Malam had not violated any law.
‘Nothing stops him as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to administer oath of office. As a law officer in the country, he stood to administer the oath to the chairman, and if the opposition party invites him for such action he will definitely discharge his duty as a SAN.
‘Also, he has fully complied with the constitution of Nigeria because he belonged to a political party before becoming a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.’
Speaking on the chances of the party in Edo after the defection of Governor Godwin Obaseki, Bagudu explained that APC governors are united behind the party’s gubernatorial candidates in Edo and Ondo states.
He expressed confidence that the ruling party would win the two states, saying that the future of the APC was bright and no other governor in the party is planing on leaving the party.