From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governors under the auspices of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) have thrown their weights behind embattled chairman of the ruling party and governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, over Supreme Court ruling on the legality of his position in the party.
PGF, in a statement signed by its chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, argued that the Supreme Court judgement has also settled the legality of the National Caretaker Committee.
It emphasised that the court has correctly ruled that in line with section 13.3 of the APC Constitution that the National Caretaker Committee was constituted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the APC to act as the National Working Committee (NWC).
“On Wednesday, July 28, 2021, the Supreme Court of Nigeria pronounced its split decision on the Appeal and Counter Appeals before it in the judgement of Ondo governorship election petition, with the written judgement to be delivered afterwards. The Court released the written judgement on Wednesday, August 4, 2021.
“Prior to the release of the written judgement, a lot of analysis and interpretations had been made, with some clearly mischievous. The early release of the written judgement had availed the public with the judgement of the court, which settled issues conclusively.
“We thank the Supreme Court for this landmark judgement, which among others have dealt conclusively with legality of the APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, its composition and all its decisions.
“The Supreme Court upheld the finding of the Court of Appeal that the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee “was set up to act on behalf of the National Executive Committee to temporarily carry out the function of the National Working Committee 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 on a temporary basis 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 i.e. Eyitayo Jegede SAN, governorship candidate of the PDP in the last election in Ondo state and the Peoples Democratic Party.
“According to the Supreme Court “by not appealing against this holding, the parties herein accept it as correct, conclusive and binding upon them,” it quoted the judgement.
Reacting to the judgement and defending Governor Buni further, the Progressive Governors said: “The judgement has also settled the legality of the National Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee. The court has correctly ruled that in line with section 13.3 of the APC Constitution, the National Caretaker Committee was constituted by the National Executive Council of the APC to act as the National Working Committee.
“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 acting capacity, on a temporary basis to temporarily carryout 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 Caretaker Committee 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 judgement 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 S.A.N. for the reaffirmation of his electoral victory, which has now ended all electoral disputes around the Ondo State 2020 Governorship elections.
“We equally extend our appreciations to the APC National Caretaker Committee under the able leadership of Governor Buni for the commendable management of the affairs of the party, which has minimise 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 the 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,” PGF noted in the statement.