Sokoto State chapter of the All Progressives Congress has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, demanding for withdrawal of the ministerial nominee from the state, Aisha Abubakar, on the premise that her nomination violated the country’s constitution and party rules.
The state chapter of the party as well as the state government had earlier on Friday met and resolved to reject the nomination of Aisha Abubakar on the grounds that she is not a card-carrying member of the party.
The stakeholders followed up its resolve Saturday by writing to President Buhari, calling his attention to what they referred to as the constitutional infraction inherent in the nomination of the candidate
In the letter signed by 23 local government chairmen of the party in the state, Sokoto APC leaders argued that allowing Ms Abubakar’s nomination to stand would violate some provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and party rules and conventions, and urged President Buhari to immediately change the nominee with any qualified person from the state, whether male or female.
The letter reads in part: “In the exercise of your constitutional powers to appoint the Minister of the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that will represent Sokoto State as envisaged by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, due regard was not given to the intendment of the Constitution which stipulates some conditions precedent as basic qualification for a nominee and principle of equity as envisaged by the Constitution to wit:
1. Section 147(3) provides that, “any appointment under subsection (2) of this constitution shall be in conformity with provision of section 14(3) of this constitution…” Section 14(3) provides: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as it reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to commend national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominant of persons from a few states or from few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or any of its agencies”.
Section 65(2) “A person shall be qualified for election under subsection (1) of this section if:
(a) He has been educated up to at least school certificate level or its equivalent,
(b) He is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that party.
Section 147(5) provides: “No person shall be appointed on a Minister of the Government of the Federation unless he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Representatives”.
“In the lights of the foregoing provisions of the constitution Miss Aisha Abubakar, the ministerial nominee from Sokoto was never a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for her to be qualified and if at all she is a member of any political party circumstantially she must be a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
a. Given the fact that her uncle Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd), the National Security Adviser, NSA to former President Goodluck Jonathan was more than anyone else personified efforts to ensure the victory of the PDP in Sokoto state, the North West Zone and Nigeria. It is equally a notorious fact that he maximally used his then official position to ensure that APC lost elections inclusive of the use of cohesion against members of the APC in Sokoto State.
b. In the same vein, the immediate younger brother of the nominee, Aminu Abubakar Alhaji, was the PDP candidate that lost to our candidate in the Tambuwal/Kebbe Federal Constituency who having not satisfied with the outcome of the election filed a petition against our candidate at the Election Tribunal which dismissed his petition and still not satisfied is on appeal currently at the Court of Appeal.
c. It may interest you to know that our Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal before now represented the same constituency at the National Assembly before becoming the Executive Governor of the State; a huge imbalance and contrary to the contemplation of section 147(3) and demoralising to our teeming members of the APC not only in Sokoto State but throughout the country.
d. Your Excellency, these scenario no doubt give the impression that of all the members of the Party none is worthy to be considered for appointment as a Minister of the government of the Federation and we see it as prelude to excluding many of them or giving them second fiddle in other political appointments which are traditionally the preserve of politicians who participated, invested politically and materially to the success by the winning party. Anything contrary is against not only global political best practices but also the letter and spirit of our Constitution. The Constituting the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognises partisanship in constitution of governments of a political party that won election in order to guarantee the rights of the citizens who choose to subscribe to a particular political party and its manifesto.
e. Thus, in pursuance of collective implementation of that manifesto which was sold to Nigerians who gave the mandate to the candidates through the wining party therefore it is only appropriate, fair and just if consideration is given exclusively to party members in political appointments as its incumbent on all that were elected on the platform of the party to implement party manifesto and programmes which are absolutely distinct from that of the opposition parties that lost elections.
(2) The appointment of Ministers and other functionaries which the President is empowered to do by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was not just left at that as the same Constitution compelled the President to consult with the appointees from time to time in taking key decisions for the Federation of Nigeria. The intendment here is to institute the spirit of consultation amongst the various federating units that make up Nigeria. Therefore the Constitution emphasises even where discretion is guaranteed, consideration is given for consultation in the exercise of such discretion otherwise this may lead to arbitrariness which more often than not diminishes the spirit of Federation and creates avoidable imbalance and inequality.
“In view of the foregoing, with due respect, we urge Mr President to in the spirit of justice, fair play and equity withdraw the nomination of Miss Aisha Abubakar as a Ministerial Nominee meant for Sokoto State in accordance with the Constitution and without prejudice to your prerogative consult with the leadership of the Party in the State in nominating a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC as a Minister of the Government of the Federation to represent Sokoto State.
“We respectfully make this passionate appeal to Your Excellency knowing your passion for justice and fairness which you exhibited when your attention was drawn to some constitutional infraction in respect of the earlier nomination, Ahmed Musa Ibeto from Niger State who came from the same Senatorial District with the Niger State Governor. In our situation the premise of our appeal was that:
a. “The Nominee Miss Aisha Abubakar was not a member of a Political Party as required by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at least our All Progressives Congress (APC).
b. “The Nominee is from Tambuwal Local Government the same Local Government with the Governor of Sokoto State Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR which negates the letter and spirit of Section 147(3).
“While we are hopeful of your usual kind consideration, we assure you of our continued support and loyalty to you and your Government please accept the assurance of our high regards.”
By Olisemeka Obeche