All Progressives Congress has gotten a pronouncement of the Supreme Court affirming Mai Mala Buni’s appointment as the Chairman, Caretaker-National Convention Planning Committee of the party.
The apex court held that Governor Buni’s position in the APC is not contrary to the provision of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution because it is on a temporary basis which is not akin to Executive office or paid employment as envisaged by Section.
The Supreme Court panel of 7 Justices was led by Justice Emmanuel Agim.
The matter became rife after the apex court judgment on the Ondo state governorship election dispute made reference to the position of Governor Buni as the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee.
Four of the Justices held that not adding Gov. Buni as a respondent in the petition disallows the court to make conclusions that will be hinged on him.
But three other Justices held that whether Governor Buni is part of the respondents or not, the office he occupies has been questioned in the petition.
The latest pronouncement of the apex court was made available to journalists in Abuja by APC’s Legal Adviser, Prof. Tahir Mamman.
Below are exerpts from the Supreme Court’s pronouncement:
“The law is and still remain that the provisions that govern sponsorship and nomination of candidates in an election are: Sections 31 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.
“That there is no provisions in the Electoral Act prescribing any form for forwarding or submission of the sponsored candidate of a political party in an election.
“Sections 177 and 182 of the CFRN which make provisions for qualifications and disqualification of candidates for Governorship election are exhaustive and leave no room for any addition.
“That no other Law/Act can be relied upon to disqualify a candidate in an election save for the provisions of Section 182 of the CFRN.
“That non-compliance with INEC directives (regulations, guidelines or manuals) for the purpose of election, but which is not contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act shall not of itself be a ground in an election petition.
“Paragraph 17 (a) of the First Supplementary to Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections cannot be relied upon as a ground to question the return of a candidate in an election.
“That sponsorship of a candidate in an election is that of the party and not the individual Officer of the party forwarding the name of the candidate.
“That the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party is empowered to create, elect and appoint Committees (including the instant CECPC) or any other committee it may deem necessary to act in any capacity.
“On the strength of all the above position of the Supreme Court in the instant case and other earlier decided cases cited in support, it is our opinion that the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni is on firm ground to proceed with its mandate as given by the National Executive Committee of the APC.”