Despite warnings, the All Progressives Congress (APC) said its July 31 ward congresses nationwide will hold as planned.
The party at a press briefing held in Abuja told its members to ignore statements from some of the party leaders calling for the removal of the Gov Mala Buni-led caretaker committee.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN), had on Wednesday warned of the legal implications of holding the exercise following the judgement of the Supreme Court on the appeal filed by the PDP candidate in the October 2020 governorship election in Ondo State, Eyitayo Jegede.
“The little technical point that saved Gov AKEREDOLU was that Jegede failed to join GOV. Mai Mala Buni in the suit. Jegede was challenging the competence of Gov. Mai Mala Buni as a sitting Governor to run the affairs of the APC as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee.
“He contends that this is against Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution which states that a sitting Governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever. In other words, had Buni been joined in the suit, the story may have been different today as we would have lost Ondo State to the PDP,” Mr Keyamo said.
Apart from the minister, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Babafemi Ojudu and the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang, in a joint statement on Thursday, also warned the party of the dire consequences should it go ahead with the congresses.
The presidential aides warned that if the caretaker committee organised the congresses, it could lead to legal tussles and ultimately affect the party’s outing in 2023.
However, the APC at its emergency press briefing in Abuja on Thursday, told members to disregard the trio as their ‘personal opinions” had little effect on the legitimacy of the party’s interim leadership.
“We stand with our National Chairman, we will go ahead with the congresses as planned,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.
He said the party will not retract its plans to hold the nationwide congresses on Saturday as the “ward Congress Committees of the party have already been inaugurated and delegated with the responsibility of conducting, supervising, and monitoring the scheduled Ward Congresses.”
He added: ”The clarification is against the backdrop of personal opinions being expressed by some individuals on the status of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) and its capacity to conduct the Congresses.
“While it is not our intention to join issues with these commentators, the Supreme Court’s Wednesday judgement affirming the Election victory of the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu SAN had no bearing on the CECPC’s status and its membership.”
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