Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu, on Monday, absolved President Muhammadu Buhari of wrongdoing in the All Progressive Congress (NEC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held last Thursday in Abuja.
The governor, who gave the clarification in a chat with journalists in Birnin Kebbi, said the president did not violate any constitutional provision at the meeting, contrary to the opinions of some public commentators on the matter.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had last week knocked President Buhari for allegedly using the Federal Executive Council (FEC) Chambers and government resources to conduct the APC affairs.
The party described the action of President Buhari “as the height of corruption and desecration of the sanctity of the seat of power and our national values.”
But Bagudu, who is also the chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF), said the country’s constitution provided that the president must be a member of a political party before he is elected into office.
He said: “It is that party that sponsors people and has obligation for anybody, who is a president, who contested on its platform.
“Hence belonging to a political party is not partisanship.
“This is created by the qualifying section of the constitution, without which he/she cannot even contest the presidency or any political position.
“So, this partisanship, if belonging to a political party can be described as such, is constitutional as it is imposed upon us by the constitution.”
The governor said President Buhari would have possibly won if the law had allowed him to contest as an independent candidate because of his popularity.
Bagudu added: “But unfortunately, the Nigerian Constitution necessitates that aspirants can only contest on a party’s platform and Buhari contested on such platform, won and took oath of office.
“I don’t know of any sentence in that oath of office that could have been violated by the president, attending a political party meeting in a virtual manner.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made the president to adjust his itineraries and activities so that he can participate in meetings across the country, as part of his official duties and obligation to a political party in a virtual manner.
“We should all remember that were the meeting to have held at APC headquarters, the president would have attended and that is not partisanship.
“The president has to attend the activities of his political party and he has to pay his dues for being a member of the political party.
“So, when circumstances had dictated that he participated in the virtual meeting and in a place set for him to participate, as he had been participating in many virtual events, it is unfair to call it a violation of the constitution.’’