APC standing on landmines over contesting ministers, Adegboruwa warns

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Human rights lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as party standing on a landmine over the refusal of ministers who have indicated interest in the presidential race to resign from their positions.

Adegboruwa was joined by the permanent representative of the Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI) to the United Nations, Femi Aduwo and an Associate Professor of Law at the Lead City University, Ibadan, Professor Olu Ojedokun, who said it was morally and legally wrong for the public officers to be holding their current positions while also seeking elective offices.

Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonaya Onu; Minister of State for Education, Dr Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba, Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige; Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Goodwill Akpabio and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, have bought forms to run for the job of president of the country without resigning from their positions.

Condemning the action in an interview with Sunday Tribune, Adegboruwa SAN said the ministers and the country’s Chief Law officer, Abubakar Malami, who is running as a guber aspirant, are bastardising the 1999 Constitution by retaining their positions and running for elective offices.

“I believe that the Court of Appeal should quickly resolve the issue of Section 84 (12) so that the case can quickly get to the Supreme Court. They are all standing on landmines. It will affect the APC. Look at what happened in River and Zamfara states in the last elections where the people took the court and our legal system for granted and they paid dearly for it. From the point view of legality, it is totally wrong.

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“And in the case of the CBN governor, it is worse. For instance, the CBN is a lender to banks, custodian of the revenue of the federation and is a lender to the FG. How does a person like that become partisan? to even indicate that he has joined the APC or for him to even seek to be the party’s presidential candidate means that he is already a card-carrying member of the party. It is scandalous.

“You now see why our economy is not improving. He has never been dedicated to his duty for one day. He is always involved in conflict of interest because if he is seeking to be under the control of APC, how does he regulate inflation, exchange rate, and stand up to his bosses in APC because he is now under Abdullahi Adamu as APC chairman? Aduwo, also in an interview, said the ministers and presidency have been acting as though they knew the outcome of the appeal filed by the National Assembly over the contentious Section 84 (12) would be decided in their favour.

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“They have been quoting the 1999 Constitution to say that as public officers, they will only resign 30 days before the election. When does an election start? It starts from the primary where candidates will emerge.

“If the National Assembly loses the appeal and goes ahead to lose at the Supreme Court, they can be rejoicing. But if the courts agree to be on the side of the people of the country who have spoken against their holding offices and running for electiove positions, then they will be in soup.

“It is so embarrassing that these ministers will be suing the paraphernalia of office and public funds to pursue a private agenda. It is saddening.

“In the case of the CBN governor, I know he is supposed to resign. A group known as the association of rice growers claimed to have bought the form for him. You will recall that there is the Anchor Borrowers Scheme of the CBN through which it has released N850b to rice farmers. It is now coming to light that much of the money did not go to the real rice growers. Some of those who got the money are those paying N100m for his forms.

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“If the EFCC is serious, it should be asking questions about those who are buying forms for these politicians and unveil their identities. Are they drug barons? Armed robbers? Is it not shameful and embarrassing that Senator Bola Tinubu who claims to be very rich, is getting a form bought for him by so-called people. Who are those people? It is the same thing with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and others,” he said.

According to Professor Ojedokun “We now have a situation where governance has come to a standstill because people are more interested in politicking than in solving the problems of the country.

“As for the CBN governor, it is even more serious because enshrined in the relevant part of the CBN Act is the independence of CBN and if the CBN governor is a member of a political party, then the independence is nonsense.

“So, you would have expected that the moment the speculation came out, either he should dispel it in a robust fashion or resign to take up the gauntlet. But he does neither. So, he is in an invidious position and in a country where democracy really works or the constitution is respected, he would have been subjected to impeachment proceedings. But this is Nigeria. It is becoming a farce. It’s all fun and game, isn’t it? “he queried.

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