Following the directive from President Muhammadu Buhari ordering ministers with presidential ambition and others contesting for other elective positions to resign immediately, more ministers are expected to resign between now and May 16.
Already, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajuiba, one of the presidential hopefuls contesting for the ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has tendered his resignation.
It was gathered that Buhari had at the Federal Executive Council meeting Wednesday announced the resignation of Nwajiuba, adding that he expected other Ministers to resign their positions.
“I expect other members of this council seeking to be President to resign with immediate effect,” Buhari was quoted to have said.
The sudden and unexpected matching order given to the Ministers by Buhari may not be unconnected with the Appeal Court Judgement on Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act which mandates political appointees to resign before the election.
The provision however did not specify whether the political appointees should resign before the primary election or before the general election.
Analysts believe it was this loophole that the Ministers leveraged to sit tight in the office.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday, citing the ‘lack of locus’, voided the judgment of the Federal High Court in Umuahia which struck down Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
The appellate court voided the judgment of Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court, Umuahia, while delivering judgment in the appeal marked CA/OW/87/2022, filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
In a unanimous decision, the three-member panel of the appellate court presided over by Justice Hamma Barka held that the said Section 84 (12) was unconstitutional because it breaches Section 42 (1)(a) of the Constitution by denying a class of Nigerian citizens their right to participate in election.
With the judgement, the President appears not to take anything to chance, hence, the marching order given to the Ministers.
The ministers expected to resign their positions in the coming days are the Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; Minister of State for Education.
Others are the Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Uche Ogar, who is running for the governorship position in Cross Rivers State; Abubakar Malami, who is gunning for Kebbi governorship; the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, who declared her ambition to contest for the senatorial seat in Plateau State.
Meanwhile, APC has extended the sale of forms as well as submission till Friday.
The National Secretary of the party, Felix Morka confirmed this on Wednesday.
The sale of expression of interest and nomination forms was initially scheduled to end yesterday (Tuesday) while the submission was supposed to end today (Wednesday) before it was extended till Friday.
Morka said, “The sale of forms and submission has been extended till Friday.”