By Bode Gbadebo
The national caretaker committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) chaired by Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, has full legal backing as it is not against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), the governing party said on Wednesday.
Recall there were calls for the dissolution of the caretaker committee following the Supreme Court judgement on the election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
The party, it was gathered late Wednesday night, obtained a certified true copy of the judgement of the apex court.
After reviewing the judgement, the party, through a member of the Buni-led Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), Prof. Tahir Mamman (SAN), said the adhoc committee is “on firm ground to proceed with its mandate”.
“That there is no provision in the Electoral Act prescribing any form for forwarding or submission of the sponsored candidate of a political party in an election. Sections 177 and 182 of the 1999 Constitution which make provisions for qualifications and disqualification of candidates for governorship election are exhaustive and leave no room for any addition.
“That no other law/act can be relied upon to disqualify a candidate in an election save for the provisions of Section 182 of the 1999 Constitution. That non-compliance with INEC directives (regulations, guidelines or manuals) for the purpose of election but which is not contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act shall not of itself be a ground in an election petition.
“Paragraph 17(a) of the First Supplementary to Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections cannot be relied upon as ground to question the return of a candidate in an election.
“That Mai Mala Buni’s position as Acting Chairman of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee is not contrary to the provision of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution as same is on a temporary basis which is not akin to executive office or paid employment as envisaged by Section 183 of the constitution,” he said.
The party added that the sponsorship of a candidate in an election is that of the party and not the individual officer of the party forwarding the name of the candidate.
“That the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party is empowered to create, elect and appoint committees (including in the instant CECPC) or any other committee it may deem necessary to act in any capacity
“On the strength of all the above position of the Supreme Court in the instant case and other earlier decided cases cited in support, it is our opinion that the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni is on firm ground to proceed with its mandate as given by the National Executive Committee of the APC,” the party stated.