A concerned citizen and front-liner politician, comrade Arabambi Abayomi has disclosed his plan to appeal a ruling delivered by justice Evelin Anyadike, of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State which ordered Attorney General of Federation to immediately delete Section 84 (12) of the Amended New Electoral Act.
We could recalled that In the said judgment, justice Anyadike, based his judgment on the ground that the section was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal, null, void and of no effect whatsoever and cannot stand, as it is in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution like Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(f) and 182(1)(f) of the 1999 Constitution.
which already stipulated that appointees of government seeking to contest elections were only to resign at least 30 days to the date of the election and that any other law that mandated such appointees to resign or leave office at any time before that was unconstitutional, invalid, illegal null and void to the extent of its inconsistency to the clear provisions of the Constitution.
According to the Judge, the section (84) 12 says: “No political appointee at any level shall be 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”.
Contesting the judgment, comrade Arabambi said The position of that Judgement as delivered is antithetical to status of the combined effect of Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(g) and 182(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution, which says “a person shall not be qualified for election in Nigeria if the candidate is a person employed in the civil or public service of the Federation or of any state and has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty (30) days before the date of the election”
Explained further that “This simple provision were meant only for person’s employed either as civil servant or public servant who intend to contest an election in Nigeria must have resigned his or her position at least 30 days before the date of election”
Stated that, malami question before the federal high court was that Political appointees are those referred to in Sections 66(1)(f), 107(1)(f), 137(1)(g) and 182(1)(g) of the 1999 as public servant.
“The lawful questions, I am demanding here are: what is public service and who are public servants? Are “political appointees” public servants as envisaged under the 30 days rule because once a political party violates the provision of the Electoral Act in respect of political appointees in primaries, the party’s candidate shall be excluded from the general election for which the primary election was conducted meaning the party shall have no candidate at all in the election for which the primary was held.
“This simple provision were meant only for person’s employed either as civil servant or public servant who intend to contest an election in Nigeria must have resigned his or her position at least 30 days before the date of election”
Comrade Arabambi, who is a National Publicity Secretary of Labour Party (LP) Stated further that, Section 318(1) of the 1999 Constitution defines public service of the Federation to mean the service of the federation in any capacity in respect of the Government of the Federation and includes:
Clerk of other staff of the National Assembly, staff of judiciary, Member of staff of any commission or authority established for the Federation by this Constitution or by an Act of the National Assembly.
Staff of any educational institution established or financed principally by the Government of the Federation; Staff of any company or enterprise in which the Government of the Federation or its agency owns controlling shares or interest; and Members or officers of the armed forces of the Federation, there is equally a similar provision for Public Service of a state under the same Section”
He, however said “From the above, it can be deduced that the Constitution is clear on who falls under the category of public service of the federation or of a state. It’s an explicit fact that the Constitution has clearly defined who is a public servants thus political appointees are excluded and therefore not public servants”
Comrade Arabambi, further made reference to the cases of Court of Appeal in PPA v. PDP & ORS (2009) LPELR-4865(CA), ADAMU V. TAKORI (2010) ALL FWLR (P. 540) 1387 C.A and recently SEGUN ONI v. FAYEMI & ORS (2019) LPELR-46622(CA)
Said on SEGUN ONI V FAYEMI, court clearly said “a Minister, being a political appointee, is not an employee in the Public Service of the Federation and therefore not constitutionally obligated to abide by the 30 days resignation rule for an employee in the Public Service, the lower court thus lack jurisdiction to set aside the judgement of a superior court which is in this case was a court of appeal”
The politician, however concluded that “On this strength of the position of Law, I shall be asking my team of lawyers to urgently request for the certified true copy of proceedings in the suit number FHC/UM/CS/26/2022 to appeal the judgement as it’s against the spirit of justice,equality and fair play”