Presidency Divided As Osinbajo Maintains Position On Buni Led Executive
August 7, 2021
The crack in the presidency over the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, has widened as Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo maintained his position on the legality of the panel, Daily Trust gathered.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is in London, had directed Osinbajo to take charge of the legal concerns being expressed by stakeholders following the split judgement of the Supreme on the Ondo governorship election.
Three out of the seven justices of the apex court had punctured the legality of Buni chairing the committee, while the four in the lead judgement upheld the election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Osinbajo had last weekend met with lawyers serving in the cabinet, where he reportedly advised against last Saturday’s ward congresses of the party. But the caretaker committee went ahead with it. Aside the issue of the ward congresses, it was also gathered that there were suggestions that the three governors – Buni, Gboyega Oyetola (Osun) and Abubakar Sani Bello (Niger) – serving in the caretaker committee should excuse themselves.
An aide of the vice president told Daily Trust Saturday that his boss had not shifted his position on the committee.
“He took an informed position after analysing the Supreme Court judgement on the Ondo governorship election. He has not changed that position.
“The vice president was very clear that we should all avoid legal trap and address the main issue raised, which is against the country’s constitution and section 17 of our party’s constitution,” he said.
Also, a minister, while speaking on the matter, said most of the lawyers in the cabinet threw their weight behind the position canvassed by Osinbajo, with the exception of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami.
He said, “We have two main camps in the cabinet now: those of us supporting the position of the vice president and the Malami side. We are all awaiting the arrival of the president next week.
“We are hoping that the president, as a promoter of the rule of law, would end this logjam when he arrives. Our attention was not on the legality of governors serving in the party until the apex court drawn our attention to it. With this development, should we not amend our ways?”
Malami had in his legal opinion on the matter argued in defence of the status quo, urging the party not to give in to “speculative and unsubstantiated fear” regarding the status of Buni as the caretaker chairman.
Daily Trust reports that the disagreement among governors who are members of the party on the matter has been resolved with a statement by their chairman and Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu, backing Buni-committee.
Bagudu, in a statement on Thursday, argued that the judgement of the Supreme Court on the Ondo State governorship had resolved all issues surrounding the caretaker committee and its composition.
“Governor Buni was appointed in acting capacity, on a temporary basis to carry out and fill in the seat of the national chairman of the party pending the election of a new national chairman.
“This has settled conclusively that the APC caretaker committee and its composition is not in conflict with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and is consistent with provisions of the constitution of the APC,” he said.
Speaking on the governors’ position, a presidential aide said some of the governors that were against Buni made a u-turn when they were offered the party’s structures in their states.
“They all agreed to support Buni, irrespective of the legal issues being raised because they have been promised the party’s structures in their respective states. But what they don’t know is that they are building the structures on nothing,” he said.
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