From Adetutu Folasade-Koyi, Abuja
In the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on Ondo State governorship case between Rotimi Akeredolu and Eyitayo Jegede, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has shunned the legal advice from Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN).
Meetings of legal experts, involving a senior ranking government official, who is also a senior lawyer, Daily Sun learnt, were held in Abuja, last week, to assess Keyamo’s legal opinion that the party should ease out the caretaker committee led by Yobe Governor, Mai Mala Buni and hold congress to democratically elect new leadership. A source privy to the meeting said: “The groundswell of opinion at that meeting was that we should ignore what he wrote as Akeredolu, at that time, was validly nominated by the party for the election.”
A senior member of the party’s Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) told Daily Sun that Keyamo’s legal opinion was “his own interpretation of the Supreme Court judgment and of no consequence on the APC and the CECPC. The statusquo remains. The party remains unshaken.”
Asked if the party’s National Executive Committee would meet and deliberate on the apex court’s ruling, as it affects future elections to be conducted by the CECPC, he replied: “There’s no scheduled meeting on this matter. It’s all politics. As far as we know, he has a running battle with the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and it all boils down to the politics of 2023 and the governorship slot of the APC in Delta State.”
Regardless, another party chieftain disclosed that, with regards to the party affairs in Delta, “the APC national secretariat relates with Omo-Agege and not Keyamo; all you see now is the battle of 2023 at play here.”
The party’s chief scribe, Sen John Akpanudeudehe, and lawyer, Michael Akintola, also shared the same stance that the warning from Keyamo was his personal opinion which had no impact on activities of the party.
Dismissing the possibility of the Supreme Court judgment concerning Governor Buni’s position having effect on the party, a party chieftain insisted that since the Yobe governor was not earning salary occupying the position of chairmanship of the party, he violated no law.
“That should no longer be any issue now. Governor Buni’s position is very legal. As governors, some are chairmen of Governors Forum, others are chairmen of certain committees. They can legally occupy those chairmanship positions as long as no salary is attached.
“Governor Buni is not violating any law as chairman of the ruling party. So, he is legally qualified to endorse any document of the party. The party is on the upward trend with what happened last weekend during the just concluded ward congresses across the country,” the chieftain who spoke in confidence told Daily Sun.
Member representing North East in the APC Caretaker Committee, Prof. Mamman Tahir, had insisted that the party is on legal high ground with the decision to continue with Buni as party boss.
“The business of the law is not about speculating what a court will decide in a particular dispute. We deal with what the court has presently decided on. That is the way the law operates. People can have fear on anything. And whatever decision anybody takes, it will always be subject to litigations.”