The Supreme Court has affirmed that the headship of the Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State is legal and lawful.
The apex court also held that Buni’s position as chairman of CECPC 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.
Controversies and misinterpretations have trailed the Supreme Court judgement affirming Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s second term victory wherein his nomination under the party’s Caretaker Committee was challenged.
The controversies centred around Governor Buni’s headship of the APC while serving as a governor at the same time.
But, extracts from the certified true copy of the judgement was made available to journalists in Abuja on Thursday by a member of the CECPC, Prof. Tahir Mamman, quoted the apex court as saying that the Committee headed by Buni “is on firm ground to proceed with its mandate as given by the National Executive Committee of the APC.”
It reads in part: “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 provision 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.”