Ministers who have unfolded presidential ambitions ahead of next year’s election yesterday said they will not resign their membership of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
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.
In Sokoto State, Deputy Governor Manir Dan’Iya, who has declared his interest to succeed Governor Aminu Tambuwal resigned yesterday as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, along with the Secretary to the State Governor, Chief of Staff and 11commissioners.
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.
13 aides resign in Sokoto
Tambuwal accepted the resignation of Deputy Governor Dan’iya, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Malam Saidu Umar, and 11 other key political office holders.
This is contained in a statement by Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Muhammad Bello, in Sokoto.
The statement listed others, whose resignations were accepted by the governor, to include the Chief of Staff Mukhtar Magori and Commissioners for Finance, Environment, Youths and Sports and Lands and Housing, Abdussamad Dasuki, Sagir Bafarawa, Bashir Gorau and Aminu Bala respectively.
Others are: Commissioners for Commerce, Works, Water Resources, Solid Minerals, Religious Affairs and Careers and Security, Bashir Gidado, Salihu Maidaji, Shuaibu Gwanda-Gobir, Abubakar Maikudi and Abdullahi Maigwandu and Retired Col. Garba Moyi respectively.
Dan’iya urged the leadership and members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to support his quest to fly the party’s flag.
He expressed his intention when he visited the state PDP leaders at the party secretariat.
He said that the meeting was initiated to intimate the party caucus of his intention to run for governor.
He said: “As you can see, I just met with the caucus and leadership of PDP in Sokoto to inform them officially about my intention to run for the office of the governor of Sokoto state in the 2023 general elections.
“However, let me thank Almighty Allah for this day, and also my mentor, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal, who gave me the support and the courage to seek for this office. I will ever be grateful to him.
“I want to assure the leadership of the party that my intention, if given the mandate, is to run an all-inclusive government and consolidate on the achievements recorded by Gov. Tambuwal from 2015 to date,” he said.
The deputy governor added that as a team player in the present administration, he is in the better position to step into his shoes.
“Therefore, I promise, if given the mandate, will sustain all the legacy projects started by my boss, complete them and embark on new projects that the people desire,” he pledged.
Dan’iya also promised to focus more on education, health, agriculture, youth empowerment, economy, security and of course run a welfare oriented government.
“My priority will be on new modern ways to govern, seek partnership within and outside the state, and also harness abundant mineral resources available in Sokoto.
“We will also explore new ways of revenue drive to boost our state income,” he said.
Alhaji Bello Goronyo, the PDP Chairman, thanked the deputy governor for the visit and assured him of level playing ground with all other aspirants in the state.