Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu may have finally broken ranks with his colleague All Progressives Congress governors who reasoned that the recent Supreme Court judgement did not challenge the legality of Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State holding office as the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party.
The Ondo State governor warned that the future of APC could be in jeopardy, following the ruling of the Supreme Court in a case involving him and the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) in the last October governorship election in the state.
Akeredolu told a meeting of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), which took place in Abuja on Sunday, that the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the party, headed by Yobe State Governor Buni should not be allowed to continue.
Nigerian Tribune reports that Akeredolu’s position, which contradicted that of PGF Chairman, Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, rattled other governors at the meeting.
Majority of the governors, party leaders and other officials, including the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, are divided over the interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling on the future of the party.
Jegede, in his petition, had argued that Buni, according to Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 17(4) of the APC Constitution, could not function both as governor and acting chairman of the ruling party at the same time.
Akeredolu, it was learnt, challenged Bagudu and other governors who insisted that the majority decision of the Supreme Court did not invalidate the eligibility of Buni to lead the party and at the same time, hold elective office.
A source said: “Our meeting was to discuss the Supreme Court verdict, as well as its implication on the national caretaker committee via a viz the last ward congresses of the party. Honestly, we are getting more openings of further legal issues as we met last night (Sunday).
“For the first time since the verdict, we are having a very frank talk on the possible dangers and banana peels. You know the man at the centre of it all, the Ondo governor, disagreed with all of us, who are of the opinion that nothing was wrong with the current arrangement being led by Buni at the national level.
“Though he came in late due to what he cited as flight delay, Aketi was frank and very legal in his analysis of the verdict that the party is not on a strong footing. Mind you, whether we like him or not, he is a very Senior Advocate of Nigeria; he cannot wish our party evil, so we have to weigh several options, one of which is to suspend deliberations on the matter until the president returns from his medicals.”
The meeting was attended by all APC governors from Lagos, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti and their counterparts from Kebbi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Plateau, Kogi, Ebonyi, Cross Rivers, Yobe, Nasarawa, Katsina, Kano and Kwara states.
Governors of Borno, Kaduna and Niger states were represented by their deputies.
It would be recalled that two former National Legal Advisers of the party, Muiz Banire and Babatunde Ogala had warned of a hanging legality burden on the CECPC based on the Supreme Court ruling.