One hundred members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have sued the Mai Mala Buni-led caretaker committee of the party.
The plaintiffs are urging the Federal High Court in Abuja to dissolve the 13-member caretaker committee of the APC being led by Mr Buni, the Yobe State governor.
They contend that the committee falls short of the statutorily required 24 members that must be spread across not less than two-third of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/938/2021, the plaintiffs added that the headship of the caretaker committee by a sitting governor holding dual executive offices is prohibited by Section 183 of the Nigerian constitution and Article 17(4) of the APC constitution.
It is also the contention of the plaintiffs that Nigeria’s Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, lacked the legal backing to administer oath of office to Mr Buni as caretaker chairman of the party.
In the suit filed by Samuel Irabor on behalf of the paintiffs, they argued 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.
Sued as defendants in the suit are Mr Malami, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), among others.
PDP asks court to sack Yobe governor Buni over his APC chairmanship roles
In a similar way, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Yobe State has asked the court to sack Mr Buni and his deputy and swear in its own candidates in the last governorship election in the state as their replacements.
Recall that the PDP argued in the suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja that combining the governor’s office with another executive position is a constitutional violation.
The Yobe State governor’s office and that of the deputy governor, Idi Gubana, have therefore become vacant after Mr Buni took up the APC appointment, the PDP said.
The opposition party asked that its governorship candidate in the 2019 election, Umar Damagum, and his running mate, Baba Aji, be sworn in as replacements for Mr Buni and his deputy.
Channels Television posted copies of some pages of the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/885/2021 on its website on Thursday.
The court document shows the PDP, along with Messrs Damagum and Aji, as the plaintiffs who jointly instituted the suit.
Mr Buni, the Yobe State deputy governor, Mr Gubana, the APC, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were sued as the defendants in the suit.
The governor was appointed the chairman of the APC’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in June 2020 following the crisis that led to the exit of the party’s former chairman, Adams Oshiomhole.
The plaintiffs, relying on section 183 of the Nigerian constitution and a recent judgement of the Supreme Court, urged the trial court to determine if Mr Buni “who is the governor of Yobe State and caretaker committee chairman” of the APC “has not ceased to hold the office of the governor of Yobe State.”
The apex court’s judgement cited by the plaintiffs was delivered on July 28, 2021 on an appeal regarding the last governorship election in Ondo State.
PDP’s governorship candidate in the Ondo State election, Eyitayo Jegede, had filed the appeal to challenge Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s victory at the October 2020 poll.
Mr Jegede rested his case on the argument that Mr Akeredolu was not a proper governorship candidate in the election because his nomination was supervised by Mr Buni said to be illegally doubling as the APC chairman and the Governor of Yobe State.