FORMER Gubernatorial Aspirant in Delta State, Chief Sunny Onuesoke has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to rescind his decision on the deletion of Section 84 (12) of the newly amended Electoral Act Bill.
In a statement, he stressed the need to withdraw the deletion of the clause saying that if political office holders or other categories of appointees resigned before partaking in electoral activities, it will give a level playing ground for all.
The president had after signing the amended Electoral Act bill last Friday, suggested to the National Assembly that the part which states “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”, should be deleted because it would disenfranchise some eligible Nigerians
The President believes that section 84(12), if signed into law, subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under section 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The Chieftain of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), observed that resigning their appointments would prevent unnecessary distractions, side influence and help such appointees focus on their ambitions. He said, “To me, an appointee should not remain in office and be allowed to use his office to influence his political ambitions or those of his benefactors. This will be an undue advantage over other contestants. It is akin to eating your cake while still having it. Besides, how can an appointee effectively carry out his official duties while campaigning for election at the same time?
“Section 84 (12) of the Amended Electoral Act Bill should be left intact for future government to “amend” if tested and found to be cheating government officials,” he stated.
Onuesoke explained that the Bill has been passed by the Legislatures and accented to by the Executive and as such it has come to stay.
“A Legislature that passed a Bill does not go back to amend it after it has been signed into Law by the Executive. The Bill is already a Law (An Act). It’s place is now in the Gazette,” he stressed.
He further argued that the “only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify, by extension, as public officers within the context of the constitution is resignation, withdrawal or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.
“Heaven wouldn’t fall if they were to resign from office as stipulated by that section of the newly passed electoral law before they could be eligible to vote and be voted for in party congresses and conventions. Nigeria should be a country for all not a country as dictated by few,” Onuesoke explained.