In a bid to save the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from a major crisis, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had met with APC Governors over the recent ruling of the Supreme Court.
Naija News reports that Supreme Court judgment on the Ondo State governorship election involving Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and Eyitayo Jegede had attracted controversy.
Judges at the Apex Court had reportedly unanimously agreed that it was illegal for Mai Mala Buni to be the governor of Yobe State and also hold an elective position.
They agreed on the constitutional point that a sitting governor could not hold the dual elective position of governor and party national chairman.
However, the majority of the judges (4-3) dismissed Jegede’s appeal over failure to had the APC chairman as a defendant in the suit.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s aide and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, had called on the APC to stop its scheduled nationwide congresses.
Backing him up, Babafemi Ojudu, a political adviser to Buhari and Ita Enang, Buhari’s adviser on Niger Delta Affairs, had also called for the suspension of the congress.
But the Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC ignored those warnings and went ahead with the congresses across the country.
It was gathered that Osinbajo, under the directive of President Buhari, consulted with the governors and other stakeholders last Friday to deliberate on ways to escape future legal traps.
It was learnt that many members of the ruling party felt the apex court’s judgment could affect the party in the near future.
A highly-placed party source told ThePUNCH that at the inaugural meeting, Osinbajo presided over a legal review of the judgment with lawyers who are members of the Federal Executive Council ahead of Saturday’s Ward congresses.
Buni, reportedly rushed down to the Villa over the weekend in company of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, to explain the position of the party’s leadership to Yemi Osinbajo.
It was learnt that, at the Friday meeting, most of the APC governors voted in favour of proceeding with the ward congress; though some felt the exercise would be canceled if it went ahead.
The party’s source denied speculations that the VP directed the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN to halt the ward congress.
Late on Monday, a reliable source said “The VP is of the firm view that the Supreme Court ruling last week is a clear legal ditch which is best avoided.
“And he wants to ensure that the interest of the party remains paramount; hoping that all stakeholders would eventually find a way in the interest of Nigerians who have reposed so much confidence and support in the party.”
Another source said, “Although we have held the ward congress, many fear that the judgment is a trap which the party must avoid now before it is too late.”
When contacted, Spokesman for the Office of the AGF, Jibrilu Gwandu, said the AGF was not responsible for implementing the directives of the APC with respect to congress.
“It is important to put the record straight that congresses and the conduct thereof are a function of a political party and not the Office of the Attorney General,” he said.
“The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is not responsible for the implementation of directives relating to party administration as it is rightly known.
“It is, therefore, incongruous and antithetical to common sense to think that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice refusing to obey directives over which he has no legal responsibility to execute. The allegation does not represent the true position of things.”