President Muhammadu Buhari is under intense pressure to remove the Governor of Yobe state, Mai Mala Buni as the Chairnan of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), SaharaReporters has gathered.
The legality of the Buni-led committee was recently called to question by some Justices of the Supreme Court in determining an election matter brought by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the last Ondo governorship election, Eyitayo Jegede, challenging the election of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Though the majority of the jurists okayed the governor’s second term in office, the panel did not spare the rod on the leadership of the APC under Buni, describing the Yobe governor’s holding of the party’s helms as illegal.
A Presidential source told SaharaReporters that pressure is being mounted on Buhari to call for the Yobe state governor’s removal as the party’s chairman.
The President who returned from United Kingdom last Friday is expected to hold separate meetings with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and some APC governors during the week.
“The provision of Section 183 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is clear and unambiguous to the effect that a Governor shall not, during the period when he holds office, hold any other executive office or paid employment in any capacity whatsoever.
“Some lawyers have advised the President to let Buni go. Like Festus Keyamo (Minister of State for Labour and Employment) opined, the NEC (National Executive Council) of the party can urgently meet, consider and reconstitute the CECPC to exclude, not only Governor Buni, but anyone holding any executive position in any government establishment as stipulated in Article 17 of the APC Constitution,” a source told SaharaReporters.
This comes amid spirited efforts by Buni and his supporters to cover up a multi-billion naira asset declaration scandal he is involved in.
SaharaReporters gathered that Buni, who was the National Secretary of the APC until his election as Yobe state governor in 2019, was involved in anticipatory declaration, a criminal offence under the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) law.
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“Though he has immunity but he committed offences contrary to Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 which are punishable under Section 23 (2) of the same Act,” a Government House source had told SaharaReporters.
An analysis of the document submitted by Buni showed he declared having N2 billion as cash in 11 Nigerian banks.
Further checks showed that the accounts are being operated by one firm, MDG Construction and General Company Limited.
Buni, in the document however claimed to have no cash in foreign accounts.
Despite claiming his two main sources of income were farming and business, a closer look at the document revealed that the governor declared 25 buildings in Abuja, Kano, Borno, Kaduna and Yobe states valued at N3.1 billion.
Also, Buni declared that he has six farms valued at N591 million in Abuja and Yobe states.
Similarly, the APC National Caretaker Chairman declared that he has three filling stations valued at N425 million.
Disbelief is trailing the governor’s claim that he earns N42 million from a farm worth N7 million in Damaturu in the face of Boko Haram insurgency. Three of his cars he claimed are also worth N58.5 million.
A source at the CCB told SaharaReporters that investigation of the governor’s anticipatory declaration has gone far at the agency.
“They are doing everything to cover up the scandal up but investigation is really ongoing. Even though his associates are doing everything to cover up the scandal, we believe President Muhammad Buhari won’t interfere and (that he will) ensure proper probe of the scandal in line with his claims of zero tolerance for corruption,” the source told SaharaReporters.