SPEAKER of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila has warned ministers who are seeking elective offices in 2023 that they risk the nullification of their election if they don’t resign before the polls.
Gbajabiamila gave the warning while speaking with the London Service of Channels Television on Thursday.
Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act stipulated that political appointees, including ministers, cannot participate in the electoral process.
However, some ministers who have declared their intention to contest in the 2023 elections are yet to resign.
Gbajabiamila expressed concerns over the development.
Although some of the aspirants have cited a subsisting court judgement on the matter as the reason for their refusal to resign, Gbajabiamila noted that there was a conflicting ruling on the matter.
“There are a number of people who have been mischievous. Some appointees have resigned their appointments to seek election, while there are some who remain obstinate, for want of a better word.
“But then, there is also a court decision that said that nullification by the court should not be executed as of yet. Then, there has also been an appeal by the National Assembly to set it aside.
“So, invariably, it is a personal decision that they have to make.
“Therefore, the risk they run at the end of it all is if the court does find that the National Assembly was well within its rights to make such a provision that you are contesting an election while still a political appointee, then you are on a very serious risk of having your election bid annulled,” he said.
According to him, the National Assembly added the clause in Section 84(12) to the electoral law in order to correct certain flaws in the country’s electoral process.
“There was a reason for every law. And that particular provision had a reason behind it. It had mischief it sought to cure and we all know what that mischief is,” he added.
Section 84(12) of the 2022 Electoral Act stated: “No political appointee at any level shall be a 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 National Assembly unanimously rejected a request by Buhari to amend the section in March.
Minister of Transportation Chibuike Amaechi, Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige and Minister of State for Education Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba have all declared their intention to contest the presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has declared his intention to contest the governorship election in Kebbi State.
Despite being the custodian of the law, Malami has vowed on many occasions that he won’t resign until his tenure elapsed as a minister.
While Amaechi has cited a subsisting court judgement for refusing to resign, Ngige told reporters on Tuesday that he would only be guided by the letters of the 1999 Constitution on his fundamental human rights.