Why Buni Should Be Sacked As Governor, PDP Tells Court
The Federal High Court in Abuja has been asked to sack Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State for taking up another executive position as the caretaker chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) argues that combining the governor’s office with another executive position is a constitutional violation.
The Yobe State governor’s office and that of the deputy governor, Idi Gubana, have therefore become vacant after Mr Buni took up the APC appointment, the PDP said.
The opposition party asked that its governorship candidate in the 2019 election, Umar Damagum, and his running mate, Baba Aji, should be sworn in as replacements for Mr Buni and his deputy.
The court document shows the PDP, along with Messrs Damagum and Aji, as the plaintiffs who jointly instituted the suit.
Mr Buni, the Yobe State deputy governor, Mr Gubana, the APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were sued as the defendants in the suit.
The governor was appointed the chairman of the APC’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in June 2020 following the crisis that led to the exit of the party’s former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
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The plaintiffs, relying on section 183 of the Nigerian constitution and a recent judgement of the Supreme Court, urged the trial court to determine if Mr Buni “who is the governor of Yobe State and caretaker committee chairman” of the APC “has not ceased to hold the office of the governor of Yobe State”.
The apex court’s judgement cited by the plaintiffs was delivered on July 28, 2021 on an appeal regarding the last governorship election in Ondo State.
PDP’s governorship candidate in the Ondo State election, Eyitayo Jegede, had filed the appeal to challenge Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s victory at the October 2020 poll.
Mr Jegede rested his case on the argument that Mr Akeredolu was not a proper governorship candidate in the election because his nomination was supervised by Mr Buni said to be illegally doubling as the APC chairman and the Governor of Yobe State.
He asked that Mr Akeredolu’s nomination be nullified as it breached section 183 of the constitution and article 17(4) of the APC constitution, which according to him, prohibits such combination of executive positions.
Mr Akeredolu, who opposed the case, won the legal battle by a whisker with a 4-to-3 split decision of the Supreme Court panel ruling in his favour on technical grounds.
The majority decision favouring Mr Akeredolu dismissed Mr Jegede’s case, saying it was incompetent as a result of the failure to join Mr Buni, against whom weighty allegations were levelled, as a party to the case.
But the minority decision upheld Mr Jedgede’s argument and nullified Mr Akeredolu’s election, explaining that Mr Buni breached constitution when as a sitting governor, he acted as chairman of the APC by submitting Mr Akeredolu’s name to INEC for the governorship election.
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Contrary to the majority judgment, it also ruled that the case was not rendered incompetent by the non-joinder of Mr Buni.
With the APC already joined, Mr Buni, who was merely acting as its agent, needed not be joined, the minority judgement explained further.
Some legal voices within the APC, including the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, warned that the judgment held an uncertain future for the APC if Mr Buni was not immediately removed as the leader of the party.
Latching on to the judgement, however, the PDP said Mr Buni is not fit to continue to hold the office of the Yobe State governor after accepting to be and stepping into the APC chairmanship position.
Citing section 187(2) of the Nigerian constitution, the PDP argues that the Yobe State deputy governor could not lawfully remain in office “upon the cessation of the 1st defendant’s (Mr Buni’s) occupation of the Yobe State governor’s office”.
The section 187(2) of the constitution treats the nomination of the governorship and the deputy governorship candidates as an indivisible entity on issues relating to qualification for election, tenure of office, disqualifications, among others.
Among other prayers, the plaintiffs, through their legal team led by Emeka Etiaba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, urged the court to declare that Mr Buni’s actions of taking up the appointment as the caretaker committee chairman of the APC “while he remains the governor of Yobe State are wrongful, null and void”.
They also seek an order “directing the Chief Judge of Yobe State or any other relevant judge in his absence to immediately swear in the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs as governor and deputy governor, the offices having become vacant”.
Meanwhile, the APC reacted to the suit describing it as “misplaced and frivolous court action” on Thursday.
In a statement signed by the national secretary of its caretaker committee, John Akpanudoedehe, the party said “the PDP leadership is obviously executing a desperate and poorly-scripted propaganda plot aimed at deflecting attention from the crisis of confidence the failed opposition party faces”.
“The PDP are ignominious rabblerousers and have no locus to take any action on the internal affairs of the APC.
“The Supreme Court has already affirmed the status and legality of the CECPC and that is all there is to it,” the APC said.
It said further that the PDP lacked the locus standi (legal right) to sue concerning its internal affairs, imploring the court to take
“punitive measures” against such act of “abuse of court processes” against the PDP.
“We are confident that the Judiciary will apply these measures fully,” the party added.
The APC and the other defendants sued will still have to file their defence against the suit in court.
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BREAKING: PDP Crisis Worsens As Chairman Ayu Steps Aside, Deputy Takes Over
As an indication of a worsening crisis in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) , its National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu on Tuesday stepped aside.
Ayu was replaced by the Deputy National Chairman, (North) Umar Iliya Damagum.
Damagum will assume office as the Acting National Chairman of the PDP, pending the determination of the case in court.
A High Court in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, had restrained embattled Ayu from parading himself as chairman of the party pending the determination of the substantive suit which has been adjourned to April 17, 2023 for hearing.
A member of the PDP from Benue, Terhide Utaan, who is the plaintiff before Justice W. I Kpochi, obtained the order restraining Ayu from parading himself as national chairman of the party.
Addressing journalists in Makurdi after obtaining the court order, the plaintiff said following the suspension of Ayu by his Igyorov Ward Exco on Sunday, it was wrong for him to keep up with the office of national chairman and further disunite the party.
Ayu was suspended late last week for anti-party activities in the wake of the party’s loss in the presidential election.
But in a Monday statement by his media aide Simon Imobo-Tswam, the former lawmaker argued that only the ward lacked the powers to suspend him.
Ayu’s political rival in the PDP and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike on Monday, said he was elated that a Benue State ward exco passed a vote of no confidence in him.
“I am not from Benue State, but I am happy, and now that Benue State has done it, we would now come out and say we are in support of it,” he said.
Prior to this development, there had been intense calls for Ayu to step aside for a Southerner to take over as the Chairman of the party.
BREAKING: Obi Speaks On Joining Tinubu’s Unity Government
Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has given insight into what his position will be if he is invited to join Bola Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
Tinubu, the president-elect and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) have been taken to court by Obi over the outcome of the February 25 election.
The camp of the APC candidate had hinted that the former Lagos Governor would form an all-inclusive government to carry all his opponents along in his government.
While featuring on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday, Obi was asked what he would do if he was called upon to be a member of Tinubu’s Government of National Unity.
In his response, Obi said he was still challenging the process of the election and the declaration.
According to him, the process of the election should be put right first before anyone could talk of the Government of National Unity.
“The first thing I want to see is that the process is right. The process through which you achieve anything is far more fundamental than what you do thereafter. Let us go back first, I am challenging the process and the declaration.
“Until we get it right, then we can talk about a government of national unity. Otherwise, we would go and sit down and say that those who stopped a train and kidnapped people can call us to discuss peace when they have people in captivity. Until things are done rightly, we will be encouraging what we don’t need to encourage,” he said.
When he was asked whether or not he would accept the outcome if it is not in his favour, Obi said he would be shocked if the court upholds Tinubu’s election.
His words: “Issues about the election will be sorted out in court. I will be shocked if this country goes on with that situation. It will then stand that it is a corporate criminalised country. We can’t allow it. We need to start unbundling this criminality.
“When people were talking about structure, it is this fraud and criminality that we witnessed that they were talking about, and we want to unbundle it for the sake of our children.”
The former Anambra State governor said he believes the judiciary would do the right thing.
LP Chieftain Flays Return Of 1999 PDP as Ibori, Henchmen Seek Political Relevance In Delta APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Delta State is gradually taking on the colouration of 1999 PDP with all of former Governor James Ibori’s ‘boys’ now leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in droves and finding a new home in APC to swell its ranks ahead of the guber elections on Saturday, March 18, 2023, according to a chieftain of Labour Party (LP), Chief Delly Ajufo.
Ajufo described the development as “a gathering of vultures to consume the soul of Delta State,” noting that Ibori, who has suffered a pariah status under Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s 8-year administration, now has a chance to reclaim his “godfather or grand commander” position over his godson, guber candidate of APC and Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
According to him, Ibori looks to resume his godfather position as Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Lagos State, a position that slipped out of his hands since his stint in the UK prison.
Ajufo said Deltans needed to be wary of Senator Omo-Agege’s governorship bid, and see it as a backdoor for Ibori to re-take control of the management of the state’s resources in a manner likely to be worse than the 1999 – 2007 era when he was governor. He warned that Deltans could not have forgotten how Ibori raped the fortunes of the state in his eight-year administration by corruptly enriching himself and his cronies (including Sen. Omo-Agege) that earned him a UK prison sentence. He described the APC as PDP-2 trying to upstage Okowa’s PDP-1 from power, saying Deltans should reward both of them with electoral defeat since both parties have run the country (APC – 8 years) and Delta State (PDP – 24 years) badly.
He argued that none of them deserves to occupy the seat of power in Asaba come May 29, 2023.
The Labour Party chieftain also said the gathering of Ibori’s political family under APC is dark and ominous for the state, and urged the electorate to reject both ‘PDAPC’ at the polls on Saturday, and vote for Labour Party (LP) as the only political breath of fresh air that Delta people need now.
“We must sever our links with the people from both parties that have collectively ruined the fortunes of this oil-rich state by running it aground since 1999,” he noted.
Ajulo added that Ibori trying to reclaim his faded godfather position, using APC as his new launch pad was tantamount to vultures gathering to feast on the carcass of a dying animal, a situation that Deltans should not wait to see but to halt it in its tracks outright.
“This is a gathering of vultures and it does not augur well for our beloved Delta State,” said Ajufo.
“Ibori wants to use the APC backdoor to reclaim his faded godfather status since all his allies are dumping PDP in droves and moving over to APC. The signs are not good for Deltans who have been pauperised for so many years in spite of the huge oil wealth that comes to the state monthly. I urge Deltans to see through the evil that’s about to befall them if they elect Ovie Omo-Agege. Of course, PDP is dead, going by February 25, 2023 election. There is no need to bother about it. Deltans will bury whatever remains of it in the guber elections.
“The nightmare we must all now resist is APC taking over. Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege was SSG and Commissioner under Ibori’s eight-year reign of wasted resources in Delta from 1999 – 2007. A vote for Omo-Agege is a vote for the return of Ibori into Delta’s mainstream, with his baggage of corruption and mismanagement of state resources. Delta is tired of another Tinubu returning to pillage the coffers of the state for his selfish interests. We cannot afford to ‘carry last’ on this matter.”
The chief urged Deltans to do for Labour Party what they did on February 25 when they massively voted for Labour Party and Peter Obi, saying they should do the same for the party’s governorship candidate, Deacon Ken Pela and all House of Assembly candidates. He called on all women to look the way of Labour Party’s candidate, Dcn Ken Pela for the governorship election, adding, “We also call on women to rally their own fellow woman, an educationist and erudite scholar, Prof. Nwabogo-Umukoro, to represent and champion women’s causes in government at the highest decision-making level.”
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