Yobe State Governor and Chairman Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the APC, Mai Mala Buni
NO fewer than five cases are currently before different courts on the eligibility or otherwise of Governor Mai Mala Buni holding the positions of the Chairman of the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress and governor of Yobe State at the same time., investigation by The PUNCH has revealed.
Of the five pending cases, three were initiated by members of the ruling party while the Peoples Democratic Party and the New Nigeria Peoples Party initiated one each.
One of the cases filed by party members was one instituted by one Okosisi Ngwu.
Ngwu had asked the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to sack Buni-led CECPC and nullify all actions it has so far taken, including the recent ward congresses.
The request forms part of the reliefs in a suit marked FCT/HC/CV/1824/2021.
Listed as defendants are the APC and all CECPC members that include Buni; Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola; Niger State Governor, Abubakar Sani-Bello; former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani; Stella Okorete; Dr. James Lalu, Senator Abubakar Yusuf; Akinyemi Olaide; David Leon; Abba Ali; Prof. Tahir Mamman; Ismail Ahmed and Senator John Akpanudoedehe.
Another chieftain of the party, Bashir Bolarinwa, also instituted a case against the Buni-led CECPC.
Bolarinwa, who was removed by the CECPC as Chairman of the party in Kwara state, is asking the High Court of the FCT to declare the entire panel illegal.
He said it was wrong for Buni and his counterparts from Niger and Osun states to preside over affairs of the APC.
Among other appeal, Bolarinwa urged the court to determine whether the appointment of the 2nd-and 14th defendants; chairman and members of CECPC; was not legal without ratification of the Board of Trustees of the 1st defendant, having regards to Article 18 (II) of the APC Constitution.
Bolarinwa’s application was filed on August 16, 2021 with suit no CV/2006/2021.
The latest among cases by party members is the one instituted by about 100 APC members in Benue State.
They sued the party and Buni, seeking dissolution of the 13-member committee and nullification of all their actions.
Also listed as co-defendant in the originating summon registered as FHC/ABJ/CS/938/2021, are the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, the Independent National Electoral Commission and others.
The motion for interlocutory injunction was filed by their lawyer, Mr Samuel Irabor at the Federal High Court, Abuja on August 18, 2021.
The PDP, on its part, urged a court to sack Buni for taking up another executive position as the chairman of the party’s CECPC.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the opposition party argued that combining the governor’s office with another executive position is a constitutional violation.
It claimed that the Yobe State governor’s office and that of the deputy governor, Idi Gubana, have therefore become vacant after Buni took up the APC appointment.
The suit was marked FHC/ABJ/CS/885/2021.
On its part, the NNPP dragged the APC to the Federal High Court Abuja, asking that the ruling party be disqualified from contesting the forthcoming chairmanship position election in the Abuja Municipal Council slated for February 12, 2022.
In the originating summons dated July 28, 2021, with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/514/2021, the party joined INEC, APC, Mohammed Ikwa and Buni as defendants.
The opposition party said the Caretaker Committee set up by the APC upon the dissolution of the elected National Working Committee by the National Executive Committee on June 25, 2020 has no lawful powers to administer the affairs of the party.
According to the suit the, Buni’s emergence as the chairman of the caretaker committee, “is void ab initio and no action ca be founded on it.”
100 APC members pray court to dissolve Buni-led committee
One hundred members of the All Progressives Congress have approached the Federal High Court Abuja praying for the dissolution of the Mai Mala Buni-led Caretaker Committee of the party and asking for the nullification of their actions.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/938/2021, the plaintiffs argued that the Caretaker Committee which constituted of 13 members was below the required membership of 24 persons spread across not less than two-third of all the states and the Federal Capital Territory for any governing body of a political party, whether substantive or acting, as stipulated under Section 223 (2) (b) of the constitution.
They also argued that the fact that the Caretaker Committee was headed by Mai Mala Buni, a serving governor and thereby holding dual executive offices was against the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17(4) of the constitution.
By their assertions, they stated that only the National Working Committee of the party could constitute a Caretaker Committee as provided under Article 13(4)(xvi) of the APC Constitution.
Relying on the provisions of the APC Constitution, the plaintiffs also asserted that the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who administered the oath of service on Mai Mala Buni as the Caretaker Chairman lacked the power to do so since he is neither a member of the NWC nor NEC.
Also, joined as defendants are the AGF, the Independent National Electoral Commission and others. The suit was filed by their lawyer, Samuel Irabor.