• How Buni dashed to Villa on eve of Congresses to explain Caretaker Committee’s view to VP
• No directives to Malami; cancelation of last Saturday’s Congresses likely
Acting on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is already working out a safe option to resolve the internal political crisis of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), consequent upon a recent Supreme Court verdict.
The Supreme Court had observed that the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni headship of the interim management committee of the party was in violation of Nigeria’s Constitution, as it, on Wednesday, in a split decision upheld the election of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, as the winner of the November 20, 2020 governorship poll.
The apex court decision, had, however, thrown up confusion within the fold of the ruling APC, particularly as it challenged the status of the Buni-led party’s Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
Consequently, stakeholders of the party, which included its Secretary, Senator John Akpanudoedehe, Hillard Etta, Festus Keyamo (SAN), President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior advisers, Babafemi Ojodu and Ita Manang, among others, have reacted to the dicey situation.
But to immediately arrest the quagmire, informed sources explained Monday night that already, Vice President Osinbajo, has been holding consultations with party leaders, state governors and cabinet ministers on a solution that will save the party from future legal traps and at the same time be acceptable to all within the APC.
As reliably gathered, as early as Friday last week, the Vice President first held a legal review session with lawyers in the Federal cabinet, where the issue was discussed and later engaged in wide consultations with APC governors just before the Ward Congresses of Saturday.
Also, as gathered from an impeccable source, Buni, the Caretaker Committee Chairman, had made his way to the Villa over the weekend with the Kogi State Governor to explain the stance of the current party leadership to the VP after efforts to reach him had failed earlier on Friday.
It is believed that the VP, who has been asked to resolve the matter by the President, is bent on ensuring that the party benefits from what seems to be a legal warning from the Supreme Court 4/3 split ruling, with the justices questioning the constitutional validity of a sitting governor holding such an executive post as national party caretaker chairman.
As gathered that there had been a call for the last-minute cancellation of the APC Congresses Friday night, as the APC governors explained to the VP that the majority of them would rather prefer to go on with the Congresses though some felt an outright cancellation of the Congresses would be inevitable if it went ahead.
A source who is aware of the ongoing consultations said it is not true that the VP directed the Attorney General on the matter especially since the AGF is not a party official. As for Governor Buni, there was no communication between the VP and him until late Friday night when he reached out to the VP around midnight. But by then the governors had already argued for the continuation of the Congresses, although some governors including one from North had strongly argued against proceeding with the Ward Congresses.
A top Villa source said Monday night that “the VP is of the firm view that the Supreme Court ruling last week is a clear legal ditch which is best avoided. As a result, he wants to ensure that the interest of the party is what is paramount.
“It is hoped that all stakeholders would eventually find a way in the interest of Nigerians who have reposed so much confidence and support in the party,” the source said.