Thecitypulsenews reports that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) appears to be enmeshed in crisis after the Supreme Court verdict on Wednesday voiding the interim chairmanship position of the Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni.
There is palpable fear in the air that the judgment of the Supreme Court on the Ondo State governorship election might likely threaten the party’s local and state congresses starting on Saturday across the country.
Even though the party leadership has not postponed the congresses, there is implicit fear that some members could challenge the outcome since the Apex Court in its judgment had declared the leadership of Buni as illegal.
The Court had on Wednesday by a narrow split decision (4-3) held that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu cannot be removed as Governor of Ondo State. Legal pundits however pointed out that the little technical point that saved Governor Akeredolu was that the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, failed to join Governor Buni in the suit.
Jegede was challenging the competence of Buni as a sitting governor to run the affairs of the APC as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee. He argued that this is against section 183 of the 1999 constitution which states that a sitting governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.
As Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN, a Minister of State for Labour and Productivity noted in his statement after the judgment, “had Buni been joined in the suit, the story may have been different today as we would have lost Ondo State to the PDP”.
To other members like Keyamo therefore, the party should do away with the Buni-led committee to pave way for a constitutionally recognized leadership that will organize congresses and conduct elections into the various offices in the party.
“The planned Congresses across the country slated for this weekend must immediately be suspended because it will be an exercise in futility. The competence of Buni to organize the congresses has been called to question by the Supreme Court”, Keyamo stated.
A top party official and former senator however disagreed with the position of Keyamo. The politician who is from the core North said the position of Keyamo should not be a surprise since according to him, the Minister is an interested party in the current scenario playing out. “Don’t forget that Keyamo is interested in the governorship race in Delta state and his chances with the current leadership are very low. He would therefore be interested in the removal of the committee led by Buni, since it appears Senator Omo-Agege has the upper hand in the scheme of things in the state”, said the senator who craved anonymity.
The senator, who is also a lawyer, explained that the Adams Oshiomhole-led leadership was removed by the court and that the party acted in line with its constitution in the way and manner the Buni-led Caretaker Committee emerged. He however said that the party has been holding strategic meetings, both political and legal since yesterday to look at the various options before it.
“Since we don’t want to give the opposition PDP an easy route to Aso rock in 2023, we have to be very careful in sweeping the mine field in the coming months, particularly as it relates to both the party and nation’s constitution”, he said.
We also gathered that the various interests within the ruling party were caught unaware by the Supreme Court judgment and have started to restrategise on the way forward. It is however yet to be seen if the party would reconsider its earlier decision to pick its next leaders through consensus arrangement.
It would be recalled that forces opposed to the perceived presidential ambition of the former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, succeeded in removing Oshiomhole, who they see as pliable to Tinubu’s interests. The emergence of Buni on June 23, 2020, was therefore seen as a bull check to the interest of Tinubu and his supporters.
But Wednesday’s judgment has again changed the dynamics and makes the APC 2023 presidential race very unpredictable. The party would have to decide within 48 hours the way forward and this may make or mar its future.