Omo-Agege: 1999 constitution does not bar a governor from being party chairman
Deputy president of the senate, Ovie Omo-Agege has stated that governor of Yobe, Mai Mala Buni can remain as chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) caretaker committee despite contrary positions.
Recall that the supreme court had in a split judgment on Wednesday affirmed the election of Rotimi Akeredolu as Ondo governor.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the dissenting judgment by three other justices in the seven-member panel vindicates their position that Akeredolu’s election is a nullity.
The opposition party said the judgment did not address the action of Buni, who is functioning as the caretaker chairman of the APC, which according to the PDP is against the provision of section 183 of the 1999 constitution (as amended).
Also, Festus Keyamo, minister of state for labour and employment, asked the party to immediately suspend the planned congress as it will be an exercise in futility. He asked the party to sack Buni and anyone holding any executive position on the committee.
He said this is to avoid legal battles since the competence of Buni to hold the position as chairman has been questioned by the supreme court.
However, Omo-Agege via a Facebook post on Thursday, said the apex court’s judgment is of no effect to the party’s caretaker committee.
Omo-Agege who is also a lawyer said: “Mischief makers for obviously nefarious intentions, resort to misinterpret the said judgment vis-a-vis the purport of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as it affects the APC congresses scheduled for Saturday.”
He said the above stated section of the constitution “only bars a governor from holding executive positions like being a minister, or any other executive positions for which he shall be paid for”.
“It does not by any scintilla of imagination, render the appointment of governor Buni as APC caretaker committee chairman incompetent and will not in any way, affect the legality or competence of the APC scheduled congresses,” he said.
He said the court did not consider the issue of the provisions of section 183 of the 1999 constitution, neither did the majority decision make any comments on the competence of Buni as the chairman of the caretaker committee.
“The appeal was dismissed on the ground of competence or lack thereof for the non-joinder of a necessary party to the suit at the lower court,” Omo-Agege said.
“Even if the apex court had considered the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, the majority panel would still have dismissed the appeal.”
He likened Buni’s position to that of Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti governor, who is the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
He said: “Can it be said that a state governor who is the chairman of the governors’ forum of Nigeria is occupying an “executive office”? Can it also be argued that the president cannot be appointed as the chairman of the Africa Union?”
“It is important at this point to restate the fact, that the caretaker committee was duly constituted by the NEC of the party and given a specific mandate to put necessary measures in place to conduct a seamless elective national convention.
“There is no law under our legal jurisprudence that bars or prohibits a governor who is a member of a political party and won elections under the political party from carrying out specific assignments on behalf of his party. How this will amount to holding an executive office is beyond every stretch of human comprehension.”