There is tension at the national secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the Supreme Court justices are set to make their pronouncements on the subsisting petition over the mandate being exercised by the sitting governor in Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu.
Checks revealed that the candidate of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party, Eyitayo Jegede had proceeded to the apex court to challenge Governor Akeredolu declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the winner of the October 10, 2020, Ondo State governorship election.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Akure, Ondo State capital had last June dismissed the appeal filed by the PDP Governorship candidate against the pronouncements of the Election Petition Tribunal.
Reading the judgement, Justice Theresa Ngolika Orji-Abadua, said the case filed by Jegede lacked merit.
A source at the party secretariat told Nigerian Tribune that barring any unforeseen development, the apex court may hear the appeal, take adopted written addresses from both parties and proceed to deliver its verdict later in the evening today (Wednesday).
Jegede is challenging the eligibility of Governor Akeredolu (SAN) on the grounds that his nomination letter was signed by his counterpart from Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni who incidentally is the Chairman, APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, CECPC put in place at an emergency National Executive Committee of the party, last year, a sequel to its dissolution of the National Working Committee led by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
The Nigerian Tribune source revealed that the party leadership and stakeholders are worried that any pronouncements by the Supreme Court that declared Governor Buni ineligible would have reverberating effects on the party and could mar its chances in next general elections.
He maintained that unless the apex court sustained the verdicts of both the lower tribunal and Appeal court, any contrary decision would mark the end of the party.
“This case is more than the Ondo State governor; it is a case that has the potency of obliterating the entire APC structure in the country.
“I can tell you honestly that even though many of us are unhappy with the way the governor is treating issues, the case at the Supreme Court is beyond him as an individual. It has more to do with the integrity of the party.
“If the verdict goes contrary to what the lower courts have decided, it means that we cannot come out of the crisis until 2023.
“The implication is that our chairman has to vacate his seat, all he had done before would be null and void, especially all our candidates who won elections within the period he has held the office shall vacate their seats.
“By far more important is the fact that the last registration exercise carried out would be deemed to be useless and by implication, APC has no members. So this is a precarious situation that we all pray not to happen to our party.”
An aide of Governor Akeredolu who craved anonymity, however, told Nigerian Tribune that his principal does not entertain any fear over the pending Jegede suit before the apex court.
“The case will be decided on its merit. The Tribunal and the Appeal Court decided the case in our favour. We aren’t having sleepless nights over Jegede’s circus show.”
Source: Nigerian Tribune