The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), has warned that the All Progressives Congress annot safely proceed with the conduct of its congresses and national convention, especially under the chairmanship of the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala-Buni, as it would amount to an exercise in futility.
Keyamo’s intervention followed Wednesday’s judgment of the Supreme Court, which affirmed the victory of the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and threw out the case filed by his opponent, Eyitayo Jegede, seeking to remove him from office.
In in a legal advice he volunteered, apparently addressed to the party’s leadership, Keyamo said the Supreme Court judgment had called to question the competence of Governor Mai Mala Buni to organise the congresses and had “weaponised all those that would be aggrieved by the APC congresses to proceed to court to challenge the competence of the Buni-led CECPC to organise the congresses and national convention.
By a narrow split decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court held that Governor Akeredolu cannot be removed as governor of Ondo State.
According to Keyamo, the “little technical point” that saved Akeredolu from losing his seat was that Jegede failed to join Governor Buni of Yobe State in the suit.
He said: “Jegede was challenging the competence of Governor Mai Mala Buni as a sitting governor to run the affairs of the APC as chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
“He contends 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.
“In other words, had Buni been joined in the suit, the story may have been different today as we would have lost Ondo State to the PDP.”
Keyamo noted that any other person affected by the actions of the Buni-led committee would henceforth not fail to join him in any subsequent case in court.
He warned: “These include any subsequent election matter in any part of this country and all the APC congresses that are about to hold.
“The Supreme Court has just weaponised all those that would be aggrieved by the APC congresses to proceed to court to Challenge the competence of the Buni-led CECPC to organise the congresses and national convention.
“The judiciary will subsequently destroy the entire structure of the party from bottom to top. We are lucky the Supreme Court has just given us a great and useful hint to save our party just before the beginning of our congresses.
“We cannot gamble with this delicate issue. The time to act is NOW.”
On the way forward, Keyamo advised that the planned congresses across the country slated for this weekend must immediately be suspended “because it will be an exercise in futility.”
One of the options the party has, according to him, is for the National Executive Committee of the party to meet urgently and consider and reconstitute the position in any government establishment as stipulated in Article 17 of the APC Constitution.
But who summons the NEC meeting?
He said: “Under Article 25 of the APC Constitution, it is the National Chairman OR TWO-THIRDS OF MEMBERS OF NEC that can summon a NEC meeting.
“Since we cannot vouch for the legality of any NEC meeting summoned by Mai Mala-Buni now, the safest is to get TWO-THIRDS of NEC members to sign an invitation to summon a NEC meeting where the CECPC would be reconstituted and our party would be safe.”
Alternatively, Keyamo said the Board of Trustees of the party, which includes President Muhammadu Buhari, can be activated to organise a National Convention in line with Article 13 of the APC Constitution, where it is given such powers.
He added: “Those powers can be delegated at the meeting to a committee in line with the APC Constitution, which will run the party and plan the convention. The new exco can then plan for congresses.”
He stressed that these are the ways to save the party from “imminent danger in the light of the Supreme Court judgment,” adding: “To ignore this and do otherwise would be tantamount to playing with fire and the opposition would simply wait till our presidential primaries in 2023 to disqualify our candidate and destroy the party.”