Buni’s Appointment As APC Chair Does Not Violate 1999 Constitution, Says Omo-Agege

A file photo of the APC Caretaker Committee Chairman and Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, at the APC National Secretariat in Abuja on June 29, 2020.

 

“The governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever,” said Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as he quotes the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

Senator Omo-Agege, who represents Delta State Central senatorial district and doubles as the Deputy President of the Senate, believes the law does not forbid a sitting governor from holding another position.

He, however, clarified that such a position must not be salaried executive office, noting the situation where a governor could lead a committee or group such as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

This was in reaction to the controversy over the appointment of Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, as the Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court affirmed Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of the APC as the winner of the October 2020 governorship election in Ondo State.

A seven-man panel of the apex court, in a split judgement of four to three, agreed with the decision of the Court of Appeal in Akure that struck out the appeal of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the poll, Mr Eyitayo Jegede, for lack of merit.

The appellants had asked the court to sack Governor Akeredolu, saying his nomination form was signed by a sitting governor.

According to them, the suit was filed in line with the constitutional provision that forbids a sitting governor from holding executive positions outside their statutory position as governors.

But in his legal opinion as a lawyer, Senator Omo-Agege disagreed with the position of the opposition party.

He stressed that it was absolutely impossible and untenable to argue that the provisions of Section 183 barred a governor from being a chairman or member of a caretaker committee set up by his or her political party.

Read the full text of the lawmaker’s opinion below:

LEGAL OPINION ON THE JUDGMENT OF THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA IN JEGEDE V. AKEREDOLU AND THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 183 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AS IT AFFECTS THE APC SCHEDULED CONGRESSES NATIONWIDE

Yesterday, Wednesday 28th July 2021, the Supreme Court delivered its judgment dismissing the appeal initiated by Eyitayo Jegede against the election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

Surprisingly, mischief-makers for obviously nefarious intentions, resort to misinterpret the said judgment vis-a-vis the purport of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), as it affects the APC Congresses scheduled for Saturday.

Without much ado, it is important to state that the majority decision of the Supreme Court in Jegede’s case, emphatically dismissed the appeal and did not consider the issue of the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, neither did the majority decision make any comments on the competence of Governor Mai Mala Bumi as the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee.

The appeal was dismissed on the ground of competence or lack thereof for the non-joinder of a necessary party to the suit at the lower court. It is, therefore, disingenuous, unsound, and mischievous to attempt to misinform the reading public of what was not the ratio decidendi of the judgment of the court.

Even if the apex court had considered the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution, the majority panel would still have dismissed the appeal. Having established the above point, it is necessary to proceed to clear the gross misconception of the provisions of section 183 of the 1999 Constitution.

The sole question that begs for consideration is whether the appointment of Governor Mai Mala Bumi as the APC Caretaker Committee Chairman offends the provisions of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)?

In answering the above question, it is pertinent to reproduce the provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) as follows:

“The governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.”

In view of the foregoing constitutional provisions, the question becomes: Is the appointment of a Governor to Chair a Caretaker COMMITTEE of his political party, same not being an ‘Executive Office’ in respect of which he is to be paid remuneration, incompetent? Can it be said that a State Governor who is the Chairman of the Governors Forum of Nigeria is occupying an “Executive office”? Can it also be argued that the President cannot be appointed as the Chairman of the Africa Union?

From the explicit provision of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), it is absolutely impossible and untenable to argue that the provisions of Section 183 bar a Governor from being a Chairman or member of a Caretaker Committee set up by his or her political party. More so, the position of the Chairman of a Caretaker Committee cannot by any sense of imagination, logic, or simple common sense be classified as being a salaried Executive office.

It is important at this point to restate the fact, that the Caretaker Committee was duly constituted by the NEC of the party and given a specific mandate to put necessary measures in place to conduct a seamless elective National Convention.

There is no law under our legal jurisprudence that bars or prohibits a Governor who is a member of a political party and won elections under the political party from carrying out specific assignments on behalf of his party. How this will amount to holding an Executive office is beyond every stretch of human comprehension.

In the light of the foregoing exposition, it is humbly and firmly stated that Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) only bars a Governor from holding Executive positions like being a Minister, or any other executive position for which he shall be paid for. It does not by any scintilla of imagination, render the appointment of Governor Bumi as APC Caretaker Committee Chairman incompetent and will not in any way, affect the legality or competence of the APC scheduled Congresses.

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

Deputy President of the Senate & Obarisi of Urhoboland

COVID-19 Disrupted Our Plans On Constitution Amendment, Says Omo-Agege

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

 

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, has said the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the plans for votes to be taken on the constitution alteration bills in December 2020.

Omo-Agege who chairs the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, disclosed on Friday in his New Year message titled ‘We Must Not Give In To Despair.’

He, however, promised that all hands are on deck to ensure that the votes are taken soonest and the report of the panel would be ready in record time.

He said: “The Coronavirus pandemic disrupted our earlier plans to have the constitution alteration bills voted on sometime in December last year. Consequently, we will have those votes taken on each of these bills separately in not too distant time.

“I firmly believe that we are on course to true greatness. Let us keep hope alive as we renew our collective resolve to ensure that the dreams and labour of our heroes past are transformed into a better future for succeeding generations,” Omo Agege said in the statement.

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He also called on Nigerians to use the New Year to renew their commitment to collective prosperity, growth, and development by contributing more to nation-building and stressed the need for citizens to continue to demonstrate love and exhibit compassion towards one another.

The lawmaker acknowledged the resilience and perseverance of Nigerians in the midst of the socio-economic difficulties in the Year 2020, occasioned by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, and urged them to reignite their undying spirit and enter the New Year with vigour and hope.

“Covid-19 has upended the global economy with its devastating effects not only on health but on domestic economies and multilateral trade, cooperation and aid. It has led to a recession in various countries, killed over a million people, and wiped out millions of jobs.

“We are also confronted with security challenges in most parts of the country.

“As Nigerians, we stand together, confident that we shall again, overcome these challenges. Our ability to overcome our challenges collectively have never been in doubt, what we need now more than ever is to galvanise these unique qualities for the good of all.

“As a people, we must continue to imbibe the spirit of togetherness and love for one another. We must also support government at all levels by contributing our quota to the generation of wealth and the alleviation of poverty in the land,” he stated.

The Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) had earlier in August 2020 commenced the process of reviewing the 1999 Constitution(as amended) Alteration Bills and amending certain provisions of the law.

The Ad-hoc Committee which is chaired by Omo-Agege constitutes 58 lawmakers representing the 36 States of the Federation and the six geo-political zones. Other members of the Ad-hoc Committee include the eight Principal Officers of the Senate.

Since the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly, several constitution amendment bills have been proposed by lawmakers and referred to the Ad-hoc Committee for further legislative action.

Omo-Agege Denies Asking EFCC To Probe Akpabio

Ovie Omo-Agege                                                                                                              Godswill Akpabio

 

 

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, has denied asking the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.

He denied the claim in a statement on Sunday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunuga.

Senator Omo-Agege faulted a letter which purportedly emanated from the Clerk of the Senate, acting on his behalf and requesting the acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, to investigate the minister.

He, however, stressed that the letter did not come from him and described the document as fake.

The Deputy Senate President insisted that he never instructed the Clerk of the Senate or any other person to contact the EFCC to investigate any individual.

“The attention of the Office of the Deputy President of the Senate has been drawn to a letter dated 7th May 2020, purportedly written by the Clerk of the Senate acting on behalf of the Office of Deputy President of the Senate requesting the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate and monitor the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and one other.

“This Office hereby states that the said letter is false, fake, malicious, mischievous and vexatious,” the statement read.

It added, “This Office never instructed the Clerk of the Senate, or in fact any person, to write to or contact the EFCC in relation to any person.”

Senator Omo-Agege, therefore, urged Nigerians to disregard the purported letter, saying it was the handiwork of persons with criminal intents.

APC Government Is Not Against Restructuring – Omo-Agege

Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege,

 

 

The call for restructuring of the country has gained more support and this time, from the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This is coming from the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, on the sideline of the Electoral Reform Conference which held on Monday in Abuja.

He stressed that the ruling party was not opposed to restructuring the country while the matter was being taken more seriously.

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“This government, the APC led government is not against restructuring,” Senator Omo-Agege told Channels Television.

He added, “A couple of days ago, I believe I read the release from the Villa; that release represents the view of the APC.”

 

The lawmaker insisted that his party was not opposed to restructuring, stressing that the Committee on Constitution Amendment would be considering the report of the committee led by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State.

He noted that the amendment to the Electoral Act was the major task before the National Assembly and the lawmakers would expedite action on it and base its recommendations majorly on the submissions of the El-Rufai led committee set up by the APC.

“The APC supports restructuring and indeed, the restructuring committee that was put in place headed by Governor El-Rufai came up with some very significant recommendations.

“Those recommendations represent the views of the party. We are going to be taking that into account as we proceed with the exercise,” Senator Omo-Agege stated.

Earlier, he informed the conference that the bill seeking to amend the Electoral Act, which he co-sponsored, might be passed by February 2020.

The event put together by the Civil Society Elections Situation Room was attended by top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), representative of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), and members of the civil society.

The office of the AGF made a commitment that it would work with INEC while the electoral umpire promised to work with the National Assembly to ensure the early passage of the bill.

Delta Central: Omo-Agege Wins As Tribunal Dismisses Oboro’s Petition

A file photo of Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. Photo: Channels Television/ Sodiaq Adelakun.

 

 

The Delta State Election Tribunal sitting in Asaba has dismissed the petition challenging the election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as the lawmaker representing Delta Central senatorial district.

A three-man panel led by Justice Abdullahi Abubakar, struck out the suit filed by the senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Evelyn Oboro, for lacking in merit.

Oboro had approached the Tribunal, seeking the nullification of Omo-Agege, the Deputy Senate President, on the ground of alleged disqualification and non-compliance to the provisions of the 2010 Electoral Act as amended.

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But Justice Abubakar, while delivering judgment on the petition on Saturday, held that the petition lacked in merit and the Tribunal was left with no option but to dismiss it in its entirety.

He ruled that the petitioner could not adduce evidence to prove her allegations, adding that the petition was infected with the cancer of defectiveness.

Addressing reporters shortly after the judgment, the lead counsel to the respondent, Matthew Omonade, said the judgment was not only a manifestation of justice but one seen to be so.

According to him, the ruling of the Tribunal which lasted hours is a product of thorough research by the judges.

Omonade added that there was much to learn from the judgement.

2019 Elections: Court Nullifies Omo-Agege, Others’ Candidacy

The Federal High Court sitting in Asaba today sacked the Jones Erue-led executive committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Delta State. 

In its two-hour judgment, the court, presided over by Justice Toyin Adegoke upheld the Cyril Ogodo-led Delta APC faction in the state, declaring the executives as duly elected.

Justice Adegoke further held that all actions purportedly taken by the Erue-led executives were null and void, thereby nullifying the candidacy of the candidates who emerged from the primaries conducted by the Erue-led executives.

According to Rowland Ekpe,  the counsel to the Cyril Ogodo exco, the re-election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, representing Delta Central and other candidates in the just-concluded elections, is now null and void following the judgment since they all emerged from the primaries conducted by the Erue-led executives.

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“The Primaries conducted by Mefor Progress, those names are the authentic names,”Mr Ekpe stressed.

Other candidates affected by the judgment include the state governorship candidate, Great Ogboru, and the senatorial candidate for Delta South Senatorial District and immediate past governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, among others.

Meanwhile, Mr Okubo Nwachukwu, counsel to the Erue-led executives said they would review the court’s judgment, noting that they would appeal the verdict passed by Justice Toyin Adegoke.

“We will look at the judgment, and see what we are going to do, but hopefully we are going to appeal against the judgment. I am very certain that the appeal will be favourable,” Mr Nwachukwu stated.

Mace Theft: NASS Committee Recommends Suspension, Prosecution Of Senator Omo-Agege

Senate To Appeal Court Ruling On Omo-Agege's Suspension
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

 

The National Assembly joint ad hoc committee has recommended the immediate suspension of Ovie Omo-Agege, the senator representing Delta central, for 180 legislative days over the theft of the Senate mace.

The recommendation was on Monday made by the committee investigating the invasion of the Senate. The decision was made at the conclusion of their investigation.

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The committee also recommends that Senator Omo-Agege be prosecuted alongside six other suspects who accompanied him into the chamber on the day of the incident.

They are to be prosecuted for treasonable felony assault on National Assembly members of staff, conspiracy to steal and eventual theft of the Senate Mace.

The committee also recommends a total review of the National Assembly’s security architecture.

Senator Omo-Agege a few months ago appeared before the Senate committee investigating the invasion of the National Assembly and theft of the Senate Mace.

He appeared before the committee to answer questions about the invasion of the Red Chambers by hoodlums who made away with the mace, which was later recovered by the police.

Senate To Appeal Court Ruling On Omo-Agege’s Suspension

Senate To Appeal Court Ruling On Omo-Agege's Suspension
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

 

The Senate on Thursday said it will appeal the ruling of the Federal High Court which nullified the suspension of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the lawmaker representing the Delta Central senatorial district.

The Upper Chamber revealed this in a statement on its Facebook, hours after the court ordered the reinstatement of the lawmaker and payment of his remunerations.

While the Senate and the Senate President were listed as the first and second defendants in the suit filed by Senator Omo-Agege, the Red Chamber promptly filed a notice of appeal and a motion for stay of execution of the same judgement.

Earlier, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had nullified the suspension of the senator by the Senate for 90 legislative days.

He noted that although the Senate can punish its members, it is only empowered to suspend an earring member for 14 days and one legislative day.

Justice Dimgba, therefore, ordered the immediate reinstatement of Omo-Agege, as well as the payment of his salaries and other entitlements.

The lawmaker was suspended by the Senate on April 12 allegedly for his remarks at a press conference that the amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari.

Senator Omo-Agege and some of his colleagues accused the National Assembly of deliberately adopting the conference report on the electoral amendment, which recommended that the presidential elections should be conducted first.

While he consequently apologised to the lawmakers for the purported allegation, the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges recommended in its report that Omo-Agege should be suspended for 181 legislative days.

Senator Omo-Agege Apologises To Senate For Comments About Electoral Act Amendment

Senator Ovie Omo-Agege

 

Senator Ovie Omo- Agege has apologised to the Senate over his comments about electoral act Amendment.

Omo-Agege had earlier accused the upper legislative chamber of deliberately targeting President Muhammadu Buhari by changing the sequence of elections.

Alongside nine Senators, Omo-Agege last week Wednesday made the statement after the Senate adopted the conference report on the amendment. They alleged that the amendment had a pre-determined motive aimed at President Buhari.

The Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, however, apologised on Wednesday, February 21, during the Senate plenary.

After the apology, Senator Ike Ekweremadu who presided at plenary advised Senator Omo-Agege to meet with Committee on Ethics which has been mandated to investigate the matter.

READ ALSO: Senate To Probe Senator Omo-Agege’s Comment On Electoral Act

We Can’t Allow APC Wither Away, Akande Rallies Support For Tinubu

The Senate on Tuesday, February 21 directed its committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the statement credited to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. This was after Senator Dino Melaye raised a point of order saying his privilege as a Federal Lawmaker and that of the Senate was breached by the statement made by Senator Omo-Agege.

The adoption of the amendment to Section 25 of the Electoral Act 2010, provides that the presidential elections would be conducted last, instead of first, as is the current order.

Duty Payment: Senate Counters Customs Directives

Duty Payment: Senate Counters Customs DirectivesThe Nigerian Senate has asked the Nigeria Customs Service to stop its proposed clampdown on motorists in the country which the agency said have failed to pay customs duties.

The directive followed a motion of national importance moved by Senator Bala Ibn Na’allah at the floor of the Senate in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Service recently issued a statement signed on behalf of the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, granting an extension till April 12 for all vehicle owners in the country whose customs duty has not been paid to do so.

The Senate, at its plenary on Tuesday, said the policy was undesirable and would only worsen the hardship Nigerians were going through.

Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Philip Aduda also condemned what they describe as “anti-people policy” at a time Nigerians are groaning under a recession.

The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, added his voice to the debate and wasted no time in confirming the stand of the Senate.

Meanwhile, a lawmaker representing Delta Central at the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, informed his colleagues at the beginning of the plenary that he has left the Labour Party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Senator Omo-Agege’s defection has increased the number of APC Senators to 66.

Senate Seeks New Strategy On Corruption Fight

Senate on Corruption FightMembers of the Nigerian Senate have called on the executive to re-strategise on its war against corruption.

The lawmakers made the call on Thursday as the Senate continued the debate on the state of the economy at the National Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

They argued that some measures taken by the Federal Government so far were driving away investors.

While Senator Ben Bruce observed that the government’s approach to fighting corruption was doing the country more harm than good, Senator Olusola Adeyeye called for a total restructuring of the economy.

One after the other, they suggested solutions which they said would get Nigeria out of recession and put it on a course of economic recovery and growth.

 

Sale Of Government Assets

The lawmakers were also divided on the suggestion to sell the country’s assets to generate revenue.

Senators Ovie Omo-Agege, Abdulahi Adamu and Adeola Olamilekan, opposed the recommendation of the sale of government assets.

They also questioned the reluctance of the Federal Government to make use of funds in several intervention agencies to stimulate the economy.

The debate follows the called on the executive by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to raise capital from the sale of government assets and other sources to shore up reserves.

Senator Saraki had recommended part sale of the NLNG Holdings, reduction of government share in upstream oil joint venture operations and sale of government stake in financial institutions.

He also proposed several other measures to address Nigeria’s economic challenges, including the privatisation of major and regional airports and refineries.

Appeal Court Nullifies Election Victory Of Delta State Senator, Amori

appeal court on delta senatorial districtThe Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City, the Edo State capital has nullified the election victory of Senator Ighoyota Amori in the Delta Central Senatorial District.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator lost the seat to Ovie-omo Agege of the Labour Party on Sunday.

The five-man panel led by Justice Abba Aji upturned an earlier ruling in favour of Senator Amori and held that Ovie-omo Agege be sworn in as winner of the election into the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

With the Appeal Court’s judgment, there are two PDP Senators representing Delta State at the National Assembly.

Mr Agege is a former secretary to the Delta State Government and a Chieftain of the PDP until his defection from the party.