…Nwajuiba picks form, to resign 30 days to elections
Senator Chris Ngige, has vowed not to resign, despite the recent guidelines released by the National Working Committee (NWC) while minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said he would not quit until 30 days to the election.
However, key presidential and other aspirants on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) holding political appointments but have failed to resign in line with the new Electoral Act and party directive risk disqualification.
The NWC of the party recently released new guidelines mandating all political appointees who aspire to participate in its primaries at all levels to resign at least 30 days before the conduct of the primaries.
It was learnt that the new guidelines may have scuttled the ambitions of aspirants for different elective positions who did not resign from their appointments as of Tuesday, April 25.
Governorship, Senate, Federal and State Assembly primary elections to select APC candidates for the general elections, according to the party’s timetable, would hold between May 18 and 23.
Expectedly, appointees for such positions who did not resign would have lost whatever was left of their chances to contest in the primaries.
Based on the guidelines, key appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari’s, namely, Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi and his labour and education counterparts, Chris Ngige and Nwajuiba, who are gunning for the 2023 presidency have barely 24 hours to resign or forget their ambitions.
The APC primary for presidency, according to the ruling party’s timetable, has been scheduled to hold between May 30 and June 1.
Section 3(i) of the APC’s final guidelines for the conduct of primaries, as of Tuesday 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.”
A credible source and member of the NWC told Daily Sun that recalcitrant aspirants who have refused to resign will be disqualified by the screening committee. The source said the NWC had waited, but without success, on President Buhari, to issue a directive that all his appointees contesting for various positions should resign in line with the provisions of the new Electoral Act.
He said their disqualification may pave an easy way for the leadership of the party and other critical stakeholders to settle for a consensus candidate that will square up with the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
A Federal High Court in Umuahia had nullified Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, recently passed the National Assembly. But an appeal filed by the National Assembly, the Court of Appeal directed all parties involved to maintain status quo, until a judgment was given. Despite the directive by the Appeal Court, Buhari’s appointees, led by the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, are unwilling to resign.
Ngige, while daring the NWC of APC, said his decision was in line with the 1999 constitution.
He said the March 18 judgment of the Federal High Court in Umuahia struck out section 84(12) of the Electoral Act, hence he was under no compulsion to resign his appointment.
But Nwajiuba, said yesterday, that he would not resign his position to contest 2023 presidential elections until 30 days to the election. He stated this in Abuja at an event to present to him the nomination and expression of interest forms of the APC for the 2023 presidential elections.
He stated that the Section 82 of the Electoral Act is not binding on him, rather he is following the guidelines as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
Nwajiuba made reference to Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, who, he said, resigned his position as minister of solid minerals four years ago after he had won the ticket of APC at the primary elections before he informed the president and members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) that he was leaving for Ekiti State.
But Asked when he will resign in line with his party directives, Ngige said: “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) 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, 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 grand-norm of all laws.”
When reminded that the same party is aware that the judgment of the court has not been vacated, and is also asking members aspiring for office to quit office, 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 would then know what to do.”
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