Why I won’t resign because of Section 84(12) — Ngige
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige, has said he would not resign his membership of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet to pursue his presidential aspiration due to the stipulations of Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act 2022.
Citing the ruling of the Umuahia Federal High Court, Ngige said as a law-abiding citizen he would always do what the law says, stressing that the court has rightfully declared that an Act of parliament is inferior to the Constitution.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja on the sidelines of a book launch, the Minister stated: “It has come to that. We have two subsisting court judgments, a judgment of Umuahia, which is the latter day judgment and the interpretation of the section in the Electoral Act.
“An Act is inferior to the constitution, an Act cannot also take people’s right away from them, rights given to them by the constitution. So, to that extent we leave it that all these things will be decided at the realms of the law.
“I am a law abiding citizen, if the law says that we shall resign 30days before election and that is the supreme law and another smaller law says you resign 90days or 80days before, I will obey that which is in the constitution.”
Referring to a similar scenario, when the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi retained his ministerial appointment while contesting the gubernatorial poll, the Labour Minister said: “I don’t have a different opinion, (because) Fayemi’s case falls in line with the situation we have now.”
“And the Constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria is supreme, it is the supreme law of the land. I haven’t also seen the party (All Progressives Congress) guideline, it is only speculative, it is in the realm of the media.
“You people want to pitch us against our party. Our party is a legal entity drawn from the constitution. We owe our formation as a political party to section 40 of the constitution, freedom of association where people are allowed to come together and form association, which can be political parties.
“Some other associations can move to become labour unions, group of workers; so there is freedom of association. Our party exists because of that portion of the constitution. So, our party is constitutionally birthed and recognised.”
While boasting his chances of clinching the Presidential ticket of APC, Ngige noted that contrary to insinuations in certain quarters over the prolonged strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), discussions with the university teachers are still in progress.