By Femi Ogunshola
Dr Kayode Ajulo, a Constitutional Lawyer, has faulted calls for removal of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022, which provides for resignation of political appointees before contesting election.
Ajulo said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, saying that the provision would help to create a level playing ground for all aspirants in an election.
He said, however, that the provision for resignation of public servants before election was to ensure the neutrality of people in the executive arm of government at all levels.
He added that it would also prevent partisan politics in the civil service, stressing that the public service rule prohibited civil servants from being involved in partisan politics.
“So if you want to be involved in partisan politics, you must resign,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, while signing the Electoral Amendment Bill on Feb. 27 voiced his reservation with respect to the provision of Section 84 (12) of the new law.
Buhari said that the provision was in conflict with extant constitutional provisions, adding that it would disenfranchise serving political office holders by preventing them from voting or being voted for in conventions.
Ajulo said that the provision derived its validity from the 1999 Constitution and did not contravene any provision.
“By the provision of Section 228 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the National Assembly has the power to provide guidelines and rules to ensure internal democracy within political parties,” he said.
This, according to him, includes making laws for the conduct of the party primaries, party congresses, and party conventions.
He said that the section of the Act was designed to create a level playing ground for all aspirants during congresses and conventions.
Ajulo added that the section did not in any way undermine the rights of political appointees to hold office or participate in primaries or main elections. (NAN)