The pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Bill 2022 may lead at least four of his ministers to resignation.
Naija News reports that President Buhari is expected to sign the re-worked Electoral Act Amendment Bill on Friday, February 25.
A source close to the Presidency had told Channels Television earlier that the bill transmitted to the Nigerian leader by the National Assembly on January 31 will be signed into law before 1 pm today.
However, if accomplished, at least four ministers and several personalities heading Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) may be affected as the bill provides that it is mandatory for political appointees who want to run for office in 2023 must resign first.
These appointees, however, would not want to resign from their current position, because it is not certain they will get it back if they lose the primary elections.
Naija News understands that Section 84 of the amended Electoral Bill on “Political Appointee not Eligible as a Voting Delegate or Aspirant” provides thus:
“(10) 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.
“(11) Where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in the issue.
“(12) Notwithstanding the provisions of this act or rules of a political party, an aspirant who complains that any of the provisions of this act and the guidelines of a political party have not been complied with in the selection or nomination of a candidate of a political party for election may apply to the Federal High Court for redress.
“(13) Nothing in this section shall empower the courts to stop the holding of primaries or general elections under this action pending the determination of a suit.”
President undoubtedly has several political appointees of whom some of them are currently being touted as contenders for presidential, governorship, senatorial and House of Representatives seats ahead of the 2023 general elections.
These political appointees include 43 ministers, special advisers, senior special assistants, special assistants and heads of government agencies holding sensitive positions that make it difficult for an open declaration of their ambitions, Naija News reports.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, names of the ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu; Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; as well as Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; have been mentioned in the media to be eyeing the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Similarly, the ministers of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami; Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare; as well as the attorney general of the federation (AGF) and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, are being mentioned as the governorship aspirants in Katsina, Gombe, Edo, Oyo and Kebbi states respectively.
Although Mr Amaechi has not declared publicly that he wants to run for president, groups and close aides have been campaigning for him.
A chieftain of the APC and former national publicity secretary of PDP, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has among others recently said in a statement that the Coalition of Northern Youths for Good Governance had endorsed the minister to succeed President Buhari in 2023 to back the views of the North on him.
“As Nigerians await his formal declaration, Eze commends the Daura Emirate Council and the Africa Blue Economy Forum for rewarding competence by finding Amaechi fit for the turning and award investiture and calls on all and sundry to keep praying for the enthronement of a man with the right frame of mind, perception and sound leadership mentality as Nigeria’s next president in 2023, while suing for patience to allow the committee comprising some of the best brains in Nigeria set up to develop a strategic action plan to revive and rescue Nigerians from insecurity and poverty in line with the vision and mission of Amaechi to achieve his type of Nigeria that will stand out in the comity of nations to complete their task and for Amaechi to act accordingly,” the statement added.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has hinted that he would declare his presidential ambition in April.
The chieftain of the APC stated this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, during the empowerment of some graduate trainees in the state, Naija News recalls.
Fashola though is yet to make a public declaration, the minister of works and housing has, however, been listed among the qualified personalities in the South West that can succeed President Buhari.
Also, among the heads of key government agencies being touted as possible presidential aspirants is the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele.
A political group, The Green Alliance (TGA), recently launched an initiative in Lagos asking the financial expert to join the presidential race.