The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is insisting that there is no sacred cow as far as its recruitment process for the 2023 election is concerned. To this end, the party has directed all of its members holding offices in President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration with eyes on 2023 to quit their positions.
The party says in line with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, public functionaries who are desirous of participating in its primaries for the recruitment of the 2023 candidates must resign their positions.
The issue of the resignation of political appointees is most likely to dominate discussion at the first post-convention of the new elected National Executive Committee members of the APC scheduled for Abuja on Wednesday, April 20.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Felix Morka, who announced the position of the party said the party would ensure that all its political appointees wishing to contest the 2023 elections comply with Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.
Some ministers in the President Buhari-led administration that include the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and his Labour counterpart, Chris Ngige have indicated interest in contesting elective offices in 2023.
However, Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act stipulates that political appointees, including ministers, commissioners and special advisers, shall vacate office to be eligible to participate either as delegates or contestants at the convention of their political parties.
Some of the political appointees particularly at the State level have complied with the provisions of the law by resigning in order to meet with the June 3, 2022 cut-off date set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for political parties to complete their primaries.
So far, only the Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi has publicly declared his interest in the APC presidential primaries while others such as the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Nigige, his Niger Delta Affairs counterpart, Godswill Akpabio and the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami as well as the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba aspiring for governorship, remains in the sphere of speculation.
The spokesman of APC insisted that the position of the party is consistent with the provisions of the Electoral Act. In the words of Morka; “we expect our affected members who may have the intention of contesting the primaries to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act.
“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.’’
Morka also 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.”