A renewed legal practitioner in Nigeria, Femi Falana, has berated former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, for withdrawal of their resignation letters from the Federal Executive Council in compliance of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari last Wednesday that all ministers contesting the 2023 general elections should resigned immediately. Falana asserted that the withdrawal of the resignation letters is illegal and contravenes the constitution.
National Daily had earlier in the week reported of palpable panic among ministers in the federal cabinet after President Buhari had given the marching order for resignation with immediate effect for those aspiring for election tickets of the All progressives Congress for the 2023 elections. Some ministers who were in certain election race for the sake of improving their political credentials were identified to be uncomfortable with the presidential directive. Most of them knew they have no chance of getting the presidential ticket, for instance, but were aspiring for the ticket to remain politically relevant in the party.
The controversy over a section of the amened Electoral Act 2022 in court which requires ministers and other political appointees to resign before contesting the party’s primaries, failed to protect ministers from resignation. The President’s directive at the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was reinforced by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, in a follow up memo to all ministries, departments and agencies.
The full statement by Falana reads:
“Having resigned from the Buhari administration Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN and Dr. Chris Ngige were reported to have withdrawn their letters of resignation after the farewell meeting. Such withdrawal is illegal as it is constitutes a gross contravention of section 306 (2) of the Constitution which stipulates that “The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorised by that authority or person to receive it.”
“Since the resignation of the former Ministers has taken effect they cannot return to the cabinet either on their own volition or on the directive of the President. The resignation of the Ministers is not a cabinet reshuffle. It is akin to the removal of the former Ministers by the President. Therefore, if the former Ministers are going to be reappointed the President is required by section 147 of the Constitution to submit names to the Senate for fresh screening and confirmation.”