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Minister of Labour Employment and Productivity, Sen Chris Ngige, who is also a presidential aspirant on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has said he would not resign his appointment ahead of the party’s primary as directed by the new guidelines. The newly released APC guidelines had stipulated that all political appointees aspiring for elective positions must resign their appointments 30 clear days ahead of the primaries, in line with the provisions of the newly enacted Electoral Act.
By the directive, all aspirants planning to participate in the party’s primaries slated for May 30 have till Saturday, April 30 to resign their appointments. But Ngige, when asked when he intended to resign in order to continue the pursuit of his presidential ambition, said he would not. According to him, his decision was in line with the 1999 Constitution as amended. The minister pointed out that a March 18 judgement of the Federal High Court in Umuahia had struck out section 84(12) of the Electoral Act and therefore was not under any compulsion to resign his appointment.
He said: “Because I don’t know about that I’m hearing for the first time from you. But like I always say, I’ll be guided by the letters and spirit of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “You are pushing me into something that is not necessary to discuss, because that aspect of the law enacted by the National Assembly, via the Electoral Act, that section 84(12) has been struck down by a court of law and the cases are on appeal. And for now, no matter how bad the judgement is, that’s the maximum jurisprudence. No matter how bad the law is, it is a judgement of court, it should be obeyed, until upturned or stayed.
“But there is no stay, there’s no atonement of that particular pronouncement, and the party is on appeal. So, the judgement is still subsisting; that aspect of the law was injurious to some persons and should not have been there.
“I also know that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in certain sections, section 107, 137 and 88, prescribes disqualification clauses for people who are going for election and that prescription is supreme, because it’s in the constitution and the constitution is the grand-norm of all laws.”
Pressed further that his party had asked all appointees in his cadre to resign, he said: “No, it’s not there. Is not in the works at all. But I will make some consultation with the party, I will find out.” Reminded that the same party which was aware that the judgment of court had yet to be vacated equally, gave the quit order, he said: “I have not seen that pronouncement from the party; I have not seen any release from the party. It has not been conveyed to me or to anybody. I’m an aspirant, I’m a presidential aspirant. So I’ll find out and if it is true, I will then know what to do.”