2023 Presidency: All Aspiring Public Office Holders Must Resign, Says Buhari
When President Muhammadu Buhari ordered ministers in his cabinet who are aspiring for elective political offices in the 2023 elections to resign on or before Monday, May 16, there was confusion as to whether the order applies only to the ministers who the President addressed at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday.
Confirming Buhari’s marching orders to TheNiche on telephone on Wednesday, presidential media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, said, “Yes, it is true that the President asked cabinet members interested in elective offices to follow the example of the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, who has resigned after buying the presidential nomination, to do same.”
But asked whether the order applies to all political appointees or only members of the cabinet, Shehu said, “The president spoke to his cabinet members. Is it going to apply to all political appointees? We may have to wait for a circular from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha. I don’t want to be quoted on that but people are free to extrapolate.”
But the waiting was not for too long. The circular came out same day, dated Wednesday, May 11 though it was released in the early hours of Thursday.
President Muhammadu Buhari, through the circular, has now clarified his earlier directive, leaving no room for ambiguity.
The order, which is in line with the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), affects all government appointees.
TheNiche recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had filed a suit seeking enforcement of his right to contest the 2023 Presidential Election without resigning from his current position.
Emefiele had dragged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and four others before a Federal High Court on Monday.
But in the circular issued in the early hours of Thursday by Mustapha, the president said aside ministers, Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Agencies, Parastatals of Government, Ambassadors and other appointees with political ambitions in the lead up to the elections must resign forthwith.
The circular reads: “Mr. President has observed and noted the expression of interest and intention by some members of the Federal Executive Council, Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Agencies, Parastatals of Government, Ambassadors and other Political Office holders to contest the upcoming Presidential, Gubernatorial, National and State Assemblies’ elections.
“Consequently, Mr. President has directed that the affected office holders aspiring to run for various offices in the 2023 General Elections, should tender their resignation on or before Monday, the 16th of May, 2022.
“For the avoidance of doubt, this directive affects all Ministers, Heads and Members of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Agencies and Parastatals of Government, Ambassadors as well as other political appointees who desire to contest for elective offices.
For smooth running of the machinery of government and our foreign Missions, affected Ministers are to hand over to Ministers of State where they exist or to the Permanent Secretary, where there is no Minister of State.
Ambassadors shall hand over to their Deputy Heads of Mission or the most Senior Foreign Service Officer in line with established practices.
“Similarly, Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Agencies and Parastatals are to hand over to the most senior Director/Officer as may be peculiar to the organisation, in line with the service wide Circular No. SGF.50/S. Il/C.2/268 of 4th December, 2017.
“The contents of this circular and the incidental directives, takes effect immediately.”
The circular with reference number SGF/OP/l/S.3/Xll/173 was copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice-President, Ministers/Ministers of State, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, National Security Adviser, Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission and Chairman, Federal Character Commission.
Also copied were the Chairmen, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, National Population Commission, Code of Conduct Tribunal, Code of Conduct Bureau, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers/Senior Special Assistants, Service Chiefs/lnspector-General of Police, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, as well as the Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Others include the Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Chairman, National Assembly Service Commission, Clerk of the National Assembly, Chief Registrar, Supreme Court of Nigeria, Secretary, National Judicial Council, Auditor-General for the Federation, Accountant-General of the Federation, Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments/Directors-General/Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals, Agencies and Government-Owned Companies.