The minister of state for education, Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba and the minister of labour and employment, Dr Chris Ngige have rebuffed attempts by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to get appointees eyeing electoral positions to quit their appointments on or before April 30, 2022.
The APC has given a deadline to cabinet ministers and other executive appointees at both the states and federal levels to resign their appointments if they intend to participate in the coming primary elections to avoid any possibility of violating the provisions of the newly amended Electoral Act.
Section 3(i) of the APC Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections states that “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.”
Before the release of the APC guidelines, Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) has provided that “No political appointee at any level shall be voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
The Electoral Act provision is still subject of litigation at the Court of Appeal.
Going by the electoral timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties have till June 3 to file their nominations for the general election.
Both Ngige and Nwajiuba are interested to run for the office of the president 1n 2023.
Fielding questions from journalists in Abuja yesterday, Ngige said he would be guided by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.
https://aa77364f0b5776c082c9ef3a9aadddba.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html “Because 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 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 have been struck down by a court of law and the cases on appeal.
“And for now, no matter how bad the judgement is, that’s the maximum jurisprudence no matter how bad law is a judgement of court, is 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, prescribes disqualification clauses for people who are going for election and that prescription is supreme, because it’s in the constitution and the constitution is grandnorm of all laws.”
Asked if the APC which is aware of the judgment in court is still asking members aspiring for offices to quit before the deadline, the minister replied: “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 would know what to do.”
Asked about his view on the APC’s N100 million fee for purchase of presidential nomination and expression of interest forms, he said: “I had said earlier that I made a budget for N50 million, and is now N100 million. So, I have discussed with my supporters, and they are raising the money to augment whatever is before now. So, when they finish augmentation, I believe that we’ll get up to N100 million so that we can purchase our form.”
For his part, Nwajiuba ruled out the possibility of resigning his position ahead of the APC presidential primaries billed for May 30 to June 1, 2022.
Speaking in Abuja yesterday after receiving the APC presidential nomination and expression of interest forms from a group, Project Nigeria, Nwajiuba said he accepted to run in order to build on the solid foundations laid by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said he would only resign 30 days to the presidential election as stipulated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“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 election 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 grundnorm called 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,” Nwajiuba said.