Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s backers in the All Progressives Congress on Thursday pressed on with the moves to field the ex-President as the APC’s consensus presidential candidate.
The Fulani group, which on Monday obtained the APC’s N100m presidential nomination and expression of interest forms for Jonathan, said on Thursday that it would submit the forms on Friday.
The group stated this as three presidential appointees on Thursday challenged the directive of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that all political appointees contesting the 2023 elections should resign.
Also, there were indications on Thursday that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, would not heed the call for him to resign before the APC presidential primary scheduled for May 30.
His lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told The DSG MEDIA that if the CBN Governor was going to resign, he would only do so 30 days before the 2023 elections.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, disclosed that the President had directed members of his cabinet contesting party primaries to resign on or before Monday.
Before the presidential directive, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, had tendered his resignation.
A few hours after the FEC meeting, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and his counterpart for Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, also resigned.
On Thursday, the President extended the resignation order to other appointees, including Emefiele.
The directive was contained in a circular by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.
The circular was addressed to all serving ministers, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, National Security Adviser; Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission; the CBN governor, Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission; Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Chairman, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service and heads of extra-ministerial departments, Directors-General/Chief Executive Officers of parastatals, agencies and government-owned companies among others.
But three presidential appointees were at a Federal High court in Abuja to challenge the threat to disqualify them if they failed to resign.
The first plaintiff, Sodique Abubakar, claimed to be a political appointee and currently serving as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Chad.
The second plaintiff, Sodique Lawal Abubakar, claimed to be a Special Assistant in the Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA while the third defendant, Bindir Umar Buba, asserted to be National Coordinator, Social Investment Programme in the Ministry of Humanitarian.
The aspirants are praying the court to stop the APC and INEC from disqualifying them on the strength of their being political appointees and Section 84 (11) and (12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
The processes of the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/641/2022, instituted on their behalf by Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN) were obtained by journalists in Abuja on Thursday.
The three plaintiffs are contending that Section 84 (11) and (12) of the new Electoral Act is discriminatory against them and unconstitutional and therefore should not be permitted by the court to be used to disqualify them on account of their mere political appointment.
The plaintiffs in their originating summons filed want the court to determine whether being Nigerians covered by Sections 66, 177 and 182 of the 1999 Constitution can be subjected to any other conditions, rules or guidelines for the purpose of election into the office of the Governor of Bauchi State and House of Representatives respectively by the APC under Section 221 of the Constitution other than the qualifications and criteria set out in Sections 66, 177 and 182 of the Constitution.
They also ask the court to determine whether being card-carrying members of the APC and political appointees, they can be prevented or barred from participating in its political convention, congress or primaries merely because they are political appointees.