Former Federal lawmaker representing Rivers South-east, Senator Magnus Abe, has again risen in defence of the Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Mala Buni, insisting that contrary to opinions expressed by a few party members, the Supreme Court judgment last week, actually secured his (Buni’s) tenure.
In a statement he personally signed yesterday, Abe noted that the court judgement in Jegede Vs Akeredolu, indeed ended the controversy over the propriety of Buni’s appointment.
He noted that it is now clear that Mala’s competence in relation to section 183 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) cannot be decided in any case in which Buni is not a party.
He noted that while the Minister of State, Labour, Festus Keyamo, may have argued that henceforth, all litigants will not fail to join the chairman in any subsequent case in court, the question remains whether Buni can be party to any lawsuit anywhere in the country while still serving as governor of Yobe state.
“Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) states clearly that no civil or criminal proceedings can be instituted or continued against a serving governor, neither can any legal processes or summons be issued against the governor in any guise whatsoever.
“By holding that Buni in person and not the APC alone will have to be a party to a suit in which this matter will have to be decided, the supreme court has already decided that the matter cannot be adjudicated upon until the 29th of May, 2023, when the immunity conferred by the constitution on Buni will expire,” Abe argued.
He maintained that in any lawsuit anywhere in the country where the matter is brought up, the APC only has to cite the case where the supreme court said that Buni has to be a party and section 308 , where the constitution says he cannot be a party.
While reiterating that there’s no threat to the APC, Abe stressed that by May 2023 when Buni’s immunity will expire with a new government and a new party leadership long in place, the matter will be largely academic.
“The CECPC should proceed without fear to discharge its mandate to all party members and do what is right.
“The greatest challenge facing the party today is not the threat of litigation but the inability of the party to stand up to its godfathers and protect the rights of its members across the country who are daily being openly oppressed and denied their rights and privileges while the party appears helpless,” he noted.
He cited Rivers state as an example, stating that the party in response to the report of its own membership registration and revalidation committee report publicly directed membership registration and revalidation to resume in Rivers State.
Abe noted that two separate committees and directives were given, both were publicly disobeyed and yet the party did nothing, adding that rather, sham ward congresses proceeded as if it there were two separate political parties saying different things.
“Even when members were openly disenfranchised, the party said nothing and appeared helpless in a situation in which ordinary members of the APC were being publicly maltreated.
“Forms were issued in bulk to one group, the other group was made to sleep over the night in front of the APC secretariat and given 100 forms. The issues of justice, equity and lack of respect for our members and their rights is a greater danger to the APC in Nigeria than the threat of litigation over Buni.
“The party is nothing without justice. It is time for us as a party to stop worrying over what others will do instead let us worry about what we are doing,” the politician pointed out.
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