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The Supreme Court has ruled that Buni’s leadership of the CECPC is legal.

The Nigerian Supreme Court has ruled that Governor Mai Mala Buni’s leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress () as Chairman, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) is legal and lawful.

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The apex court also ruled that Mai Mala Buni’s temporary position as Acting Chairman of the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee does not violate Section 183 of the CFRN because it is not akin to an executive office or paid employment as defined by Section 183 of the CFRN.

Since the apex court recently delivered its judgement in favour of governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state and his challenger, Eyitayo Jegede of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there have been controversies and misinterpretations of the judgement over governor Mai Mala Buni’s headship of the National Caretaker Committee of the .

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However, the Supreme Court held in a full judgement extradited and made available to newsmen by a member of the CECPC, Prof. Tahir Mamman SAN, that “the law is and continues to be that the provisions that govern sponsorship and nomination of candidates in an election are: Sections 31 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 as amended.”

“That the Electoral Act contains no provisions prescribing any form for forwarding or submission of a political party’s sponsored candidate in an election.

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“The CFRN’s Sections 177 and 182, which govern the qualifications and disqualification of candidates for Governorship elections, are exhaustive and leave no room for interpretation.

“That no other law or act, other than Section 182 of the CFRN, can be used to disqualify a candidate in an election.

Non-compliance with INEC directives (regulations, guidelines, or manuals) for elections that are not contrary to the Electoral Act shall not be ground in an election petition in and of itself.

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“Paragraph 17 (a) of the First Supplementary to the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections cannot be used to challenge a candidate’s election return.

“Sponsorship of a candidate in an election is the responsibility of the party, not the individual Officer of the party who forwards the candidate’s name.

“That the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) has the authority to form, elect, and appoint committees (including the current CECPC) or any other committee it deems necessary to perform any function.

“Based on the Supreme Court’s above position in the instant case, as well as other previously decided cases cited in support, we believe the Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) headed by Governor Mai Mala Buni is on firm ground to carry out the mandate given by the APC’s National Executive Committee.”

According to an excerpt from the judgement on the validity of Mai Mala Buni’s acting as a sitting Governor in the position of Chairman, Caretaker, Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the APC in light of Section 183 of the CFRN and Articles 13.3(vi) and 17(iv) of the APC 2014 (as amended) and their impact on the APC or the qualification of its candidates;

A dissenting judgement, it is believed, is not the court’s judgement and thus is not binding. Indeed, the majority judgement of a Court is the binding judgement: see Supreme Court case of Orugbo V. Una (2002) 16 NWLR (Pt. 792) 175 SC; thus, the Supreme Court’s judgement in respect of the Appeal is the majority judgement, the lead of which was delivered by Honourable Justice Emmanuel Agim.

Blueprint Newspapers is the source of this information.

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