President Muhammadu Buhari orders Mr Rotimi Amechi, and four other Ministers to resign their offices to pursue their presidential ambitions.
Government spokesperson, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the presidential order at the end of 11 May meeting of the Federal Executive Council.
The President reportedly gave the directive after announcing that Minister of State for Education, Emeke Nwajiuba, similarly resigned.
The order affects six ministers running for president and three others seeking state and legislative mandates in 2023.
Mohammed told newsmen that President Buhari praised Nwajiuba for obeying the electoral law by quitting his job.
“I expect other members of this council seeking to be President to resign with immediate effect,” President Buhari reportedly said.
Amechi is one of six ministers running for President on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Others are Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta), Chris Ngige (Labour & Employment), and Ogbonnaya Onu (Science, Technology and Innovation).
The junior Ministers among them are Nwajiuba of Education and Timipre Sylva of Petroleum Resources.
Justice Minister and Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami is running for the office of governor (Kebbi State) while Uche Ogar (Mines and Steel) wants to govern Cross River. The only woman among them, Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, is running for Senate from Plateau State.
Alhaji Lai’s media briefing did not indicate whether the President’s directive affects other public officers outside the cabinet.
“As of this moment, the mandate I have is for members of the Federal Executive Council. Subsequently it might affect other political appointees but that will be made known. If there is going to be any amendment or any inclusion, you will be informed in due course,” he said.
What the law says
However, the 2023 electoral law mandates public officers seeking elective positions to quit their offices at least six months to their party primaries.
Specifically, Section 84(2) of the Electoral Act 2023 mandates public officers who want to participate in the election to resign their offices before they are eligible to do so. It also interprets participation as aspiring to become either a delegate or a party candidate.
Those affected include ministers, commissioners, special advisers and other political appointees.
A judge in Abia state however recently ruled that the section of the electoral law requiring public officers to quit their positions to contest elections breaches constitutional rights. Justice Minister, himself a candidate, quickly praised the ruling and vowed to expunge it from the law.
Nevertheless, President Buhari signed the legislation into law although he asked the national assembly to take a second look at the particular provision.
Buhari orders Amechi, 5 others ministers to resign and pursue their presidential ambitions