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Breaking: APC Fixes Date For National Party Convention

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The date for APC National Party Convention has reportedly been fixed, even as the state crisis worsens.

JomogNews Nigeria reports that there were strong indications on Sunday that the All Progressives Congress would hold its national convention in October.

A member of the national caucus of the party, who spoke to The Punch, said with the myriad problems arising from membership registration, there was no way the national convention would be held earlier than October.

It was also learnt the panel was still battling with crisis in state chapters of the party.
Recall that when the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee was dissolved in on June 25, 2020, and the Mala Buni-led Caretaker/Extraordinary National Committee was constituted, the caretaker committee was given six months to conduct the party’s national convention.

But on December 8, 2020 the tenure of the caretaker committee was extended to allow for membership registration.

On Sunday, The PUNCH learnt there was a plan to extend the tenure of the Buni-led caretaker committee again.

Our correspondent gathered that those who were pushing for additional time for the Buni-led committee were hinging their advocacy on the fact that the panel had yet to conclude the data capturing required to finalise the membership registration and revalidation.

It was also learnt that the committee would seek additional time to conclude the reconciliation of aggrieved party members to prepare ground for congresses before the national convention.

It was also gathered that the issue of logistics would also be a huddle as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), had insisted that public funds should not be used to fund party activities.

The PUNCH learnt that those who were against the tenure extension had stepped up efforts to thwart the plan of the committee on the grounds that giving the panel additional time would dent the image of the party.

It was learnt that although consultations were still ongoing about the zoning formula, multiple sources within the party hierarchy confirmed the party’s plan to commence the sale of forms for the various party offices “by the end of June.”

A member of the party’s national caucus, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media on the issue, said, “To be realistic, if we want to do a thorough job like I’m sure we want to, we cannot hold this convention before October.

“As we speak, we are still processing the raw data collected from the states after the just concluded membership registration and revalidation. We need to have the database which is required for the national membership register.

“If you recall, that was what our party was doing in Lagos in 2014 or thereabouts when the DSS (Department of State Services) under the Jonathan administration disrupted it. This whole exercise is designed to rebuild and update the database.

“You also have the issue of the ongoing reconciliation of party leaders and members across board. No party member would want us to enter into the convention with a divided house. To the best of my knowledge, members of the Buni-led committee are eager to conclude their assignment and move on but they cannot leave their job half done. That is where we are.”

An Enugu State chieftain of the party, Osita Okechukwu, who before now spoke about the possibility of the convention holding in June, said fresh evidence available to him indicated that the issue of logistics had yet to be fully sorted out.

He said, “Logistics is still a major factor. I am aware that Mr President has made it clear to all party members that under his watch, public funds would not be used to fund party activities. President Muhammadu Buhari is a stickler for respect for the rule of law and adherence to financial regulations.

“The party must look within to generate funds to fund its activities; this is a major factor. I am however confident that the caretaker committee under the leadership of Governor Mai Mala Buni remains committed to delivering its mandate.”

However, Spokesman for party supporters, under the aegis of Concerned APC Members, Abdullahi Dauda, said, “We have known from the very beginning that this delay tactics will stretch to this time. The committee was initially given six months to reconcile aggrieved members and convene a national convention but the committee added another function to its original mandate.

“The registration of members was not part of their mandate; they included it and got another six months. We can only wait to see what they want to do this time after the second six months expires.”

Recall, the pioneer Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, had warned the committee against yielding to the temptation of sitting tight.

While speaking during his membership revalidation in his country home, Akande said, “Please, permit me to make two observations. The first is that in normal circumstances, a caretaker executive committee for a political party is an abnormality. If not carefully controlled and expeditiously managed, most aberrant authorities end up in contempt and disgrace.”

Attempts to get a response from the party’s National Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe were unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report. A response to a text message sent to him on the subject was still being awaited at 9:42pm.

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Breaking: Court Frees Sunday Ighoho’s 12 Aides On Bail

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Justice Obiora Egwuatu of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the detained 12 associates of the advocates for Yoruba nation, Chief Sunday Adeyemo popuplarly known as SundayIgboho be granted bail immediately.

 

Justice Egwuatu after  entertaining arguments from lawyers to the applicants and the Department of State Services (DSS) that is detaining them ordered that they be released on bail.

Applicants’ lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi had prayed the court to allow his clients on bail, noting that they have been in DSS’ custody for over 30 days.

 

 

Justice Egwuatu said that the detainees are entitled to bail by the provisions of the Nigerian law having been held in custody beyond the period stipulated by law.

The judge said that the law even frowned at a situation where citizens’ liberty is curtailed under unlawful circumstances.

The suspects were granted bail on various conditions and will remain in the DSS detention until their bail conditions are perfected,Jomog.com reports.

DSS’ lawyer, Idowu Awo had earlier said he was not opposed to the court granting bail to eight of the detainees, but would oppose bail for the other four, who were still being investigated in relation to their complicity in Igboho’s alleged arm stockpiling offence.

 

 

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Akeredolu VS Jegede: Details Of Supreme Court Split Ruling That Awards Victory To APC

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Facts have emerged on why the Supreme Court with a split decision of four-to-three on Wednesday endorsed the victory of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last governorship election in Ondo State.

Four Justices, out of a seven-member panel, resolved on technicality that the petition filed against Akeredolu’s victory was incompetent, because the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State was not joined as a party.

Justice Emmanuel Agim read the lead majority judgment, which was supported by Justices John Okoro, Lawal Garba and Tijani Abubakar.

The other three Justices, Mary Peter-Odili, Ejembi Eko and Mohammed Saulawa held otherwise in their dissenting minority judgment.

The judgment was on the appeal marked: SC/448/21; including the cross-appeals marked: SC/501/21; SC/508/21 and SC/509/21.

The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Eyitayo Jegede and his party had challenged the competence of Akeredolu’s nomination/sponsorship for the election by the APC, claiming that the letter conveying his nomination/sponsorship to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was incompetent, having been signed by Buni and others.

They contended that by the provision of Section 183 of the Constitution and Article 17 (4) of the APC constitution, Buni acted unlawfully by being the Yobe Governor and serving as APC’s Chairman at the same time, and as such, the nomination/sponsorship letter he signed for the APC, notifying INEC of the candidacy of Akeredolu and Lucky Aiydatiwa (as governorship and deputy governorship candidates) was void.

In his lead majority judgment, Justice Agim held that, since Jegede and the PDP made Buni the centre of their allegation of constitutional breaches, he ought to have been made a party in the case to enable him to defend himself in line with the doctrine of fair hearing.

He proceeded to uphold an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal, to the effect that the petition filed by Jegede and his party to the election tribunal was incompetent because they failed to include Buni as a party.

Agim said: “The appeal was based on the ground that Mai Mala Buni, the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the party, that is, the second respondent (APC) was holding office as the Governor of Yobe State, contrary to the provision of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999).

“All the issues raised, revolved around Mala Buni. But, Mala Buni, who is at the centre of the dispute was not made party to the petition. It is obvious that the determination of the said issues will affect him.

“Therefore, the court below was right to have held that he was a necessary party to this suit. Failure to join him renders the determination of the matter impossible. To proceed to do so would have violated the fair trial of the case.

“Therefore, we affirm the lower court that the petitioner was incompetent.

“There is no dispute that the third and fourth respondents (Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa) were nominated by the second respondent (APC) as its candidates for the election; that the second respondent submitted their names to the first respondent (INEC) as its candidates, in accordance with Section 31(1) of the Electoral Act.

“They were therefore sponsored by the second in accordance with Section 177(c) of the Constitution (1999). It is not in dispute that Mai Mala Buni is acting as the National Chairman of the second respondent,” he said.

Justice Agim held that the decision to allow Buni act as its National Committee Chairman (in the interim) was made by the APC, despite the provision of Article 1z(4 of its constitution, thereby making the decision internal to the party.

He added: “The second respondent (APC) allowed him (Buni) to be its Chairman in the interim in spite of Article 17 of its constitution.

The vires of this decision of the party is non-justiciable. This appeal fails and it is hereby dismissed,” he said.

He, however, rejected the cross-appeals by INEC, APC, Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa and faulted their claims that the issue of sponsorship/qualification was a pre-election matter that could only be raised before the election.

Justice Agim said by the virtue of the provision of Section 138(1) (a) of the Electoral Act, the issue of qualification could be raised either before or after the election.

He proceeded to dismiss the cross-appeals which Justices Okoro, Garba and Tijani agreed with him.

In the lead minority judgment, Justice Peter-Odili upheld the appeal and dismiss the cross-appeals by INEC), APC, Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa.

Justice Odili was of the view that since the APC, for which Buni acted, was a party in the case, there was no need to include him as a party.

She added that having allowed Buni to act on its behalf in signing the nomination/sponsorship letter of its candidates in Ondo despite the clear provisions of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17(4) of the APC constitution, the party should live by the consequences of its lawlessness.

“I do not agree with the majority judgment,” she said, noting that the APC, by Article 17(4) of its constitution has provided for how its affairs should be managed and what offices its members should occupy at a time.

“This Article draws strength from Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution. Therefore when the second respondent (APC) put up a person not qualified to author its nomination by virtue of the provision of Article 1z(4) of its constitution and Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution to do so, that document has no validity, and thereby void,” she said.

She noted that the implication was that the nomination and candidacy of Akeredolu and his deputy was a nullity.

She held that the person, who ought to be declared winner of the election ” is the first appellant (Jegede), who has the majority of valid votes.”

Justice Peter-Odili held that it was unlawful and a violation of Article 17(4) of the APC constitution and Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution for Buni to be serving as the National Chairman of the APC and the Governor of Yobe State at the same time.

Justices Ejembi Eko and Mohammed Saulawa agreed with Justice Peter-Odili in upholding the appeal and dismissing the cross-appeals by INEC, APC, Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa.

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Supreme Court Ruling: Eyitayo Jegede Accepts Defeat, Congratulates Gov. Akeredolu

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Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in last year’s governorship election in Ondo Eyitayo Jegede has finally congratulated Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on his victory at the polls.

Jegede’s congratulatory message came after the Supreme Court judgment, which upheld rulings of the lower courts dismissing his petition for lacking in merit.

In a statement in Akure on Wednesday evening, Jegede said it was time to give glory to God having explored the grievance procedure permitted by the constitution and the law.

Jegede said he was in the governorship race for service and collective interest of the majority of the people.

He said the Supreme Court ruling should deter good and well-meaning individuals from aspiring for leadership in the State.

According to him: “For all our people who have stood strong, we salute you. We thank the National and State leadership, and the generality of the members of PDP for providing us with great support.

“For our Governors who provided the required leadership and kept faith with our aspiration, gratitude, history will judge you right.

“With this outcome, our respect and reverence for the judiciary and our justices of the supreme court has not diminished. I congratulate HE Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.”

Ondo PDP also said it has accepted the verdict of the Supreme Court.

It said the implication of the Supreme Court verdict was the non-joinder of Buni was more fatal to the petition than the infringement on the Constitution.

A statement by the spokesman of the party, Kennedy Peretei, urged all party supporters to remain steadfast and be consoled that they fought a good fight, from the beginning to the end.

“The Supreme Court is the “Guardian Angel” of our Constitution and Democracy. To ensure that nobody tramples upon it without consequence.

“To this end, the Judgement will also go into history as one of the major tests of our democracy which ought to be guided by the rule of law.

“As much as we are not discouraged by this verdict, we shall continue to pursue that which will make life easier for the people of Ondo State.”

 

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