Supreme Court ruling: Osinbajo, APC govs move to reconcile, Keyamo, others


Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has commenced move for a truce among warring parties within the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Friction broke out within the party following last week’s Supreme Court judgement which declared Ondo state Governor Rotimi Akeredolu winner of the last governorship elections in the state.

In the ruling, the apex court returned a verdict of 4 to 3 Justices with the former upholding the validity of the election while the three others, in a minority judgement faulted the election.

Disturbed by the trend, however, some APC stakeholders, including Minister of State for Labour and Productivity Festus Keyamo (SAN), the special adviser to the president on political matters, Senator Babajide Ojudu and senior special assistant to the president on Niger Delta Affairs , Senator Ita Enang  warned that the continued stay of Chairman APC caretaker/ national convention committee and governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni would spell doom for the party.

Their warning came barely 48 hours to the ward congresses.

They contended that going ahead with the party’s congresses (which of course held Saturday) would open the floodgates of litigation which could ultimately affect the party’s electoral fortune in future.

They said it was wrong for an elected office holder to sit atop the party’s number one position as its leader.

And following their position, some groups, including the faction of the party in Kwara state,  came out to declare as illegal all activities of the Buni committee since taking over some 13 months ago.

However, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), and counsel in the legal tussle, Niyi Akintola (SAN), both of whom are APC chieftains, faulted Keyamo’s position and described it as insinuation. 

Osinbajo moves

And to resolve the legal cum political logjam, President Buhari directed Vice President Osinbajo, also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, to wade in and fashion out “a safe option to resolve the internal political crisis” within the party. 

Top sources within the party told Blueprint Monday night that already “the vice president has been holding consultations with party leaders and governors on a solution that will save the party from future legal traps and at the same time be acceptable to all within the APC.” 

Blueprint gathered that “as early as Friday last week, Vice President Osinbajo  first held a legal review session with lawyers in the federal cabinet where the issue was discussed and later also engaged in wide consultations with APC Governors just before the Ward Congresses of Saturday. 

“The caretaker committee chairman was also reported to have visited the Villa over the weekend with  Kogi state Governor Yahaya Bello to explain the stance of the current party leadership to the VP after efforts to reach him  earlier Friday had failed.” 

“It is believed that the VP, who has been asked to resolve the matter by President Buhari, is intent on ensuring  the party benefits from what seems to be a legal warning from the Supreme Cout ruling which had a 4-3 verdict with the justices questioning the constitutional validity of a sitting Governor holding such an executive post such as national party Caretaker Chairman. 

“And while a last minute cancelation of the Congresses was on the table on Friday night, APC Governors explained to the VP that majority of them would rather prefer to go on with the Congresses even though some felt an outright cancelation of the Congresses would be inevitable if it went ahead,” it was further gathered.  

Speaking further, another source faulted the claim in some quarters that Osinbajo directed  Malami on the matter, especially since the AGF is not a party official.

A top Villa source also said: “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 the North, had strongly argued against proceeding with the ward congresses. 

“The VP is of the firm view that the Supreme Court ruling last week is a clear legal ditch which is best avoided. And he wants to ensure that the interest of the party is what is paramount, hoping that all stakeholders would eventually find a way in the interest of Nigerians who have reposed so much confidence and support in the party.”