Edwin Clark, an Ijaw national leader, has stated that the clause in the new electoral act, which requires political appointees to resign their positions before participating in party primaries, will stop “impunity”.
Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 reads: “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.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had, while signing the electoral act amendment bill into law on February 25, asked the national assembly to delete the clause on the basis that it will “disenfranchise” political appointees.
But Clark, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the provision is in order with ensuring “sanity” in Nigeria’s electoral system.
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“Nobody will be disenfranchised; all the Act is saying is that we want to stop impunity and waywardness,” he said.
He described the section as “legal and valid”, adding that “there is no constitutional breach, and therefore, the call on Mr. President to NASS to review that the said Section 84 (12), is unnecessary, if we are serious that we want to sanitise our electoral system”.
“Firstly, there is no provision in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which allows public servants to remain in office, while engaging in political activities,” he said.
“Also, Article 31 (1) (iii) of the APC Constitution (October 2014 As Amended), states that: “Any Party office holder interested in contesting for an elective office (whether party office or office in a general election) shall resign and leave office 30 days prior to the date of nomination or Party primary for the Office he or she is seeking to contest.”