Nigeria: Again, Abe Defends Buni, Insists Supreme Court Secured APC Chair's Tenure

2 August 2021

Former federal lawmaker, who represented the Rivers South-east senatorial district in the Senate, Magnus Abe, has again defended the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Mai 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 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 Buni'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.

Abe noted that while the Minister of State for 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.

According to him, "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 May 29, 2023, when the immunity conferred by the constitution on Buni will expire."

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 stated 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 in place, the matter will be largely academic.

"The CECPC should proceed without fear to discharge its mandate to all party members as well as 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.

The APC chieftain 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 the state.

Abe noted that two separate committees and directives were given, but both were publicly disobeyed, and yet the party did nothing, adding that rather, sham ward congresses proceeded as if there were two separate political parties saying different things.

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