Thursday, 28 April 2022

2023 : We Will Not Resign , Buhari's Ministers Insist


Ministers serving under President Muhammadu Buhari have indicated their interest not to resign their positions as indicated in the new electoral act

While Labour and Employment Minister Dr. Chris Ngige said he has not received any instruction to resign from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Minister of State for Education Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba said the constitution permits aspirants to resign only 30 days to the poll.

But, at the state level, more appointees have continued to tender their resignation, following their declaration of intention to run for political offices.

The ruling party was said to have issued new guidelines for the conduct primaries, to determine candidates for the various elective positions.

Section 3(i) of the APC guidelines for the nomination of candidates for the 2023 general elections says “no political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for the purpose of the nomination of candidates.

“Any political office holder interested in contesting for an elective office shall leave office 30 days, prior to the date of election or party primary for the office sought.”

However, speaking to some correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Ngige denied knowledge of the directives that aspirants should resign ahead of the May 30 presidential primary.

The minister, who maintained that his decision not to resign is in line with the 1999 Constitution, as amended, adding that the March 18 judgement of the Federal High Court in Umuahia, struck out Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act.

Asked when he will resign in line with his party directives, Ngige said: “I don’t know about that.

 I’m hearing for the first time from you. But like I always say, I’ll be guided by the letters and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“You are pushing me into something that is not necessary to discuss, because that aspect of the law, enacted by the National Assembly, via the Electoral Act, that Section 84(12) has been struck down by a court of law and the cases are on appeal. And for now, no matter how bad the judgement is, that’s the maximum jurisprudence

No matter how bad the law is, it is a judgement of court. It should be obeyed, until upturned or stayed.

“But there is no stay, there’s no atonement of that particular pronouncement, and the party is on appeal. So, the judgement is still subsisting.

 That aspect of the law was injurious to some persons and should not have been there.

“I also know that the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria in certain sections, Section 107, 137 and 88, prescribe disqualification clauses for people who are going for election and that prescription is supreme, because it’s in the constitution and the constitution is ground-norm of all laws.”

Pressed further that his party has asked all appointees in his cadre to resign, he said: “No, it’s not there. It is not in the works at all. But I will make some consultation with the party, I will find out.”

When reminded that APC is aware that the judgment of court has not been vacated, Ngige said: “I have not seen that pronouncement from the party. I have not seen any release from the party. It has not been conveyed to me or to anybody. I’m an aspirant, I’m a presidential aspirant. So, I’ll find out and if it is true, I will know what to do.”

The minister said he would only resign 30 days to the presidential election as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution as amended.

He said: “The resignation of a minister or anybody who is in office is guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We are required to contest elections if we want.

 We are required to resign 30 days before any election we choose to contest. That is the position of the law. Every other person can have an opinion.

“My position is that the law of the country rests on the ground norm called the Constitution. If you do not like the Constitution, your work is to amend it. There is no subrogation of power that is required for you to include into a law what is not in that law.”

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said “in the course of the 20 years that I have been in his political household, has afforded me the opportunity to learn and proffered my little effort in the service of our fatherland, Nigeria”.

He added: “We all thank our party, its chairman, the NWC and the NEC that he leads as they build on the work many previous party officers started in coming together to present Nigerians with a Progressive Platform that is a congress for all shades.

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