Nigeria: Abdullahi Adamu, Deputy Must Resign From Senate, Says Agbakoba

2 April 2022

Ahamefula Ogbu

An alleged breach of constitutional provisions may force the new National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Abdullahi Adamu and his Deputy, Abubakar Kyari, both serving senators, to resign from the Senate.

Experts say their situations foul constitutional provisions as enunciated in the Jegede Vs Akeredolu case, where the apex court held in a minority judgment that the then APC Interim Chairman and Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mallam Buni, if he had been included as a party in the appeal, would have vitiated the nomination of Rotimi Akeredolu since Buni was an elected officer and not supposed to have held the position of the Caretaker Committee Chairmanship of the party.

Asked to speak on the position of law regarding Adamu and Kyari, combining party offices with elected senatorial positions, human rights activist and constitutional lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, told THISDAY yesterday that going by the position of the Supreme Court on the issue, "the duo of Adamu and Kyari could not legally hold those positions."

Agbakoba said "the courts say this isn't possible" and referred to the Supreme Court decision on Akeredolu where he said the court made a comment on an elected politician, also holding an office in a party, which would invalidate the election, adding, "this was all the wahala of Buni as acting party chair."

In the minority judgment of the Jegede Vs Akeredolu case, Justice Peter-Odili upheld the appeal and dismissed the cross-appeals by INEC, APC, Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa.

Justice Odili held that since the APC, for which Buni acted, was a party in the case, there was no need to include him as a party.

She noted that having allowed Buni to act on its behalf in signing the nomination/sponsorship letter of its candidates in Ondo, despite the clear provisions of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17(4) of the APC constitution, the party should face the consequences of its lawlessness.

"I do not agree with the majority judgment," she insisted, pointing out that the APC, by Article 17(4) of its constitution had provided for how its affairs should be managed and what offices its members should occupy at a time.

"This Article draws strength from Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution. Therefore when the second respondent (APC) put up a person not qualified to author its nomination by virtue of the provision of Article 1z(4) of its constitution and Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution to do so, that document has no validity, and thereby void," she said.

She noted that the implication was that the nomination and candidacy of Akeredolu and his deputy was a nullity.

She held that the person, who ought to be declared winner of the election "is the first appellant (Jegede), who has the majority of valid votes."

Justice Peter-Odili held that it was unlawful and fouled Article 17(4) of the APC constitution and Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution for Buni to be serving as the National Chairman of the APC and the Governor of Yobe State at the same time.

Justices Ejembi Eko and Mohammed Saulawa agreed with Justice Peter-Odili in upholding the appeal and dismissing the cross-appeals by INEC, APC, Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa.

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