Though All Progressive Congress (APC)’s Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State won at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, as his election victory was upheld by the majority judgment of the apex court, the ruling party has been warned to put its house in order and take a critical look at the minority judgment of the court in order to avert future disaster.
The apex court, in a split decision of four-to-three, dismissed the appeal that was brought before it by candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the governorship election that held in the state on October 10, 2020, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN. A seven-man panel of justices of the Supreme Court heard the appeal.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Senator Babafemi Ojudu warned that the minority judgment depicted the goings in the APC, adding that all effort should be geared toward redressing whatever that may cause future constitutional havoc in the APC.
Jegede and PDP had in their case, queried the legal validity of Akeredolu’s nomination by the national Caretaker Committee of the APC headed by the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mal Buni.
The Appellants urged court to determine whether signing of such nomination form by Buni did not amount to a gross violation of the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
They specifically urged the court to determine whether Buni, as a sitting governor of Yobe state, could double as National Chairman of the APC to sign the nomination of Akeredolu, SAN, for the governorship election.
The minority judgment agreed with Jegede and his party, PDP on these grounds.
Ojudu said: “While congratulating His Excellency, the Governor of Ondo state on the majority judgment of the Supreme Court upholding his election by striking out the petition, decisions affecting the legality and Status of CARETAKER AND EXTRA ORDINARY CONVENTION PLANNING COMMITTEE (CECPC) was along delivered.
“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 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:
- 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.
- That the Party carefully and dispationately Cause her team of legal experts to Review, appraise and give 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.
iii. That options, including painful ones be recommended to PERFECT THE PARTY LEADERSHIP in the eyes of the Law with legal capacity to do what it ought to do.
- That the Team also recommend measures to perfect matters in respect of pending elections and matters to rescue challenged pending processes.
- That Time being of the essence, very limited timelines be set for each of the proposed steps.
One cannot put something on nothing and expect it to stand.
“Finally, this being a Supreme Court judgment, we should be thankful that it has come very early that it will guide our Party to victory in 2023 as we mind carefully the legal Status of our systems, guiding us on avoidable actions as we approach the 2023 tape to brace successfully.
“As stakeholders, we deem it appropriate to offer our voices adding to reasonable offers thus far made.”