Reactions have continued to trail the minority judgment of the supreme court on the Ondo State governorship election petition between Gov Rotimi Akeredolu and Eyitayo Jegede of the People’s Democratic Party.
The latest reactions came from two aides to President Muhammadu Buhari which include Special Adviser to the President On Political Matters, Sen BABAFEMI OJUDU and Senior Special Assistant to the President, Niger Delta Affairs, Sen ITA ENANG.
In a statement jointly signed by both presidential aides in reaction to the fresh wounds opened by the Supreme court judgment on the Ondo State governorship election, Sen Babafemi Ojodu and Ita Enang asked APC to pause all pending activities currently being undertaken by the governor Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee
in order to appraise its legality so as to avoid irreparable damages for the party in the future.
The duo noted that the minority judgment has rendered the caretaker committee illegal, null and void, and lacks the capacity to undertake any action on behalf and in the name of the party.
They said, “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 a 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.
“It has also brought to question the legality of ALL the actions taken by her since inception.
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:
i. 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.
ii. That the Party carefully and dispassionately Cause her team of legal experts to review, appraise and give a 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.”
On his part, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, dismissed the interpretation of the supreme court judgment by some quarters calling for the dissolution of the caretaker committee, saying the party committed no infringement of the law in appointing Buni as caretaker committee chairman.
Omo-Agege said, “Without much ado, it is important to state that the majority decision of the Supreme Court in Jegede’s case, emphatically dismissed the appeal and did not consider the issue of the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, neither did the majority decision make any comments on the competence of Governor Mai Mala Bumi as the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee. The appeal was dismissed on the ground of competence or lack thereof for the non-joinder of a necessary party to the suit at the lower court.”
He added that “There is no law under our legal jurisprudence that bars or prohibits a Governor who is a member of a political party and won elections under the political party from carrying out specific assignments on behalf of his party. How this will amount to holding an Executive office is beyond every stretch of human comprehension.
“In the light of the foregoing exposition, it is humbly and firmly stated that Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) only bars a Governor from holding Executive positions like being a Minister, or any other executive positions for which he shall be paid for. It does not by any scintilla of imagination, render the appointment of Governor Bumi as APC Caretaker Committee Chairman incompetent and will not in any way, affect the legality or competence of the APC scheduled Congresses.”