The All Progressives Congress has insisted that all its members currently holding political appointments and seeking participation in the party’s forthcoming primaries must quit their positions.
According to the party, the move is in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Section 84 (12) of the Act stipulates that political appointees, including ministers, commissioners and special advisers should quit to be eligible to participate either as delegates or contestants at the convention of their political parties.
Recall that last week, former governor of Rivers State and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, declared interest in the presidential ticket of the APC.
Also, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), is nursing an ambition to succeed governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
Just recently, his NGO distributed 65,000 bags of foodstuffs worth N580million as Ramadan gifts to the needy.
Meanwhile, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Felix Morka, had said the party would ensure that all political appointees wishing to contest the 2023 elections comply with Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.
He said, “The position of the party is consistent with the Electoral Act. We are allowing our affected members who may have the intention of contesting the primaries to comply with the Electoral Act as provided.
“The party will simply follow the Electoral Act. Any member of the party who is in an appointive position, we will expect such individual to resign before our primaries.
“We are hopeful that they will comply at the right time and we are going to ensure that anyone seeking our ticket will not breach the Electoral Act.”
Asked how soon those appointees were expected to turn in their letters, Morka said, “The Electoral Act however does not stipulate the time frame by which individuals should resign their appointments before the primary. But we shall ensure the party complies with the law.”
While signing the Electoral Bill into law last month, President Buhari had asked the National Assembly to delete section 84 (12), which restricts sitting cabinet members from contesting for elective offices without resigning.
For instance, with the provisions of the act, political appointees such as Amaechi; Malami; Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment; Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education; Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs; Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, among others who have been reportedly linked to presidential and governorship ambitions must resign from their various offices if they want to contest in 2023.
The legislators, however, declined to do the President’s bidding and have even gone to court to appeal against the ruling of a Federal High Court, Umuahia, which recently voided the controversial section and asked the Attorney-General of the Federation to expunge it from the Act.
The issue of the resignation of political appointees is expected to be discussed during the maiden post-convention of the APC scheduled for Abuja on Wednesday, April 20.
The party, in the notice of the meeting, said, “Pursuant to Article 25.2.ii of the constitution of the All Progressives Congress, the National Working Committee hereby invites members of the National Executive Committee of our great party to a meeting to consider the party’s timetable/schedule of activities for primaries for the nomination of candidates for the 2023 general elections and other relevant business of the party.
“All members of the NEC are by this invitation to take notice of the meeting in accordance with Article 12.3 of the APC constitution, please.”
SAHARAREPORTERS, NEW YORK