By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
As part of its last minute efforts to stave off any possible violation of the Electoral Act, the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has given a deadline to cabinet ministers and other executive appointees at both the states and federal levels within which they must resign their appointments if they intend to participate in its forthcoming round of primary elections.
The appointees, according to the set of guidelines for the primaries sighted by Vanguard, now have till this Saturday to quit their present offices.
Section 3(i) of the APC Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for the 2023 General Elections states; ”No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for the purpose of the nomination of candidates.
“Any political office holder interested in contesting for an elective office shall leave Office 30 days prior to the date of election or party primary for the office sought.”
The party has scheduled to hold its special presidential convention from Monday, May 30, to Wednesday, June 1.
By implication, the appointees now have till April 30 to leave their offices.
Both the Ministers of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and that of Labour and Productivity, Chris Nigige, have declared their intent to run for president.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio who was said to be nursing such ambition has however denied that he is interested in the presidency, even as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, are said to be nursing governorship ambition in their various states
Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) stipulates that political appointees, including ministers/commissioners and special advisers, must quit their offices to be eligible to participate either as delegates or contestants at the convention of their respective political parties.
Specifically, the section states that; “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.”
According to the electoral timetable released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, political parties have till June 3 to file their nominations for the general election.