- Deputy Senate president Ovie Omo-Agege has said the APC did not violate the constitution by appointing Governor Buni as its caretaker chairman
- Omo-Agege said Section 183 of the 1999 constitution being referenced by the PDP and others was talking about salaried executive office
- The lawmaker's position stands in contrast with that of Festus Keyamo who had earlier advised the APC not to continue its congresses under Buni's leadership to avoid legal tussles
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the deputy president of the Senate, has argued that the appointment of Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe state as the caretaker chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not violate the constitution.
In a statement sighted by Legit.ng on his Facebook page, the Delta Central senator on Thursday, July 29, said Section 183 of the 1999 constitution does not forbid a sitting governor from holding another position.
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He, however, clarified that such a position must not be salaried executive office, insisting that a governor could lead a committee or group such as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).
Legit.ng notes that Omo-Agege was reacting to the controversy over the appointment of Buni as the APC chair following the Supreme Court verdict which affirmed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu as the winner of the October 2020 governorship election in Ondo state.
Though Akeredolu's election was upheld by the apex court, the minority judgement from the panel members agreed with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the poll, Eyitayo Jegede, that the Ondo state governor's candidacy was a nullity because his nomination form was signed by a sitting governor.
Three members of the seven-member panel of the apex court held the constitution forbids a sitting governor from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.
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Reacting to the judgement, Festus Keyamo (SAN), minister of state for labour and employment, warned of imminent legal tussles if Governor Buni remains the party's caretaker chairman.
He, therefore, advised the APC to stop its ward congresses scheduled to hold on Saturday, July 31.
The minister also stated that the continuous leadership of the Yobe state governor was a breach of Article 17 of the APC Constitution.
In his legal opinion as a lawyer, Senator Omo-Agege said it was untenable to argue that the provisions of Section 183 barred a governor from being a chairman or member of a caretaker committee set up by his or her political party.
He argued that those saying Buni's appointment is against the constitution are misinterpreting the Supreme Court judgement.
The lawmaker also said the Supreme Court's majority judgement did not make any comments on the competence of Governor Bumi as the APC's caretaker chairman.
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Meanwhile, following the declaration of the national committee led by Mai Mala Buni illegal by the Supreme Court's minority judgement, the APC governors will hold an emergency meeting in Abuja on Friday, July 30.
The governors will at the meeting discuss the APC's planned congresses as well as the implication of the judgment of the Supreme Court on the Ondo state governorship election for the party.
Legit.ng gathered that the chairman of the APC in Borno state, Ali Bukar Dalori, gave the hints in an interview in Maiduguri.
Buni, others should resign, says party chieftain
In a similar development, a former secretary to the Ondo government and former state chairman of the APC, Honourable Isaac Kekemeke, has said the caretaker committee chairman, Governor Buni, should resign.
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Kekemeke said the Yobe state governor ought to tender his resignation after the Supreme Court verdict on the Ondo state governorship election.
He said Buni resigning as the national caretaker committee chairman of the APC will ensure the party does not walk into a landmine.