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Adamu, Kyari read handwriting on the wall, resign from Senate

By Yetunde Ayobami Ojo
13 April 2022   |   4:14 am
The sudden resignations of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senators Abdullahi Adamu and his deputy, Abubakar Kyari from the senate yesterday have been considered a deft move that have saved them from litigations by some lawyers.

[FILES] Abdullahi Adamu (Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP)

The sudden resignations of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senators Abdullahi Adamu and his deputy, Abubakar Kyari from the senate yesterday have been considered a deft move that have saved them from litigations by some lawyers.

The senate president, Lawan Ahmed, read two separate letters from the two upper legislative lawmakers at the floor of the House yesterday.

Their resignation followed the criticism from the former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), who argued that Adamu and his deputy cannot hold their new roles simultaneously with the senatorial mandate of the people they represent in the upper chamber.

Other prominent legal luminaries also condemned the development from the point of law.

Two legal practitioners, Kunle Edun and Oluwole Kehinde, in agreement with Agbakoba, said the two Senators cannot hold the two positions at the same time.

The duo in their reactions faulted the situation where Adamu, who was holding the mandate of the electorate from Nasarawa State, would simultaneously hold the office of national chairman of his party and supervise all of the party activities.

For Edun, who is the national welfare secretary of the NBA, the legality of holding another office, while in public service arose in the case of Jegede v INEC, where the Supreme Court by a minority decision held that the appointment of Mai Mala Buni, the Governor of Yobe State as the APC chairman was in violation of section 183 of the Constitution and therefore invalid.

“In the extant case, that two serving APC Senators are using their official time, facilities and privileges provided by taxpayers to serve the narrow interest of APC, is a breach of section 68(1)(b) of the Constitution.

“The section provides instances when a serving National Assembly member can vacate his office. It states that where any circumstances arise that, if they were not members of the Senate would cause them to be disqualified for election as members of the Senate.

“A proper reading of the letters and the spirit of section 68(1)(b) of the Constitution would mean that Senator Adamu and his deputy ordinarily would have resigned first as APC Chair and deputy if they were to contest the primaries of APC that will produce its Senatorial candidates. APC recently barred its political appointees from contesting for party offices during its convention. This is the practical effect of section 68(1)(b) and 84(12) of the Constitution, read together.

“Therefore, the election of the APC chairman and his deputy, who are serving Senators, is not on firm legal ground. It is morally despicable. It amounts to conflict of interest and disrespect to the sanctity of the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly.”

Therefore, on moral and legal grounds, Edun maintained that holding the two offices at the same time were akin to standing on sinking grounds.

“Consequently, if it is so declared by a court of law, anything done by them pursuant thereto becomes null and void ab initio,” he argued.

On his part, Kehinde, who insisted that a sitting member of the National Assembly ought not to take an executive position in a political party, however, said such resignations should be on moral grounds.

He said: “ There’s no law restricting National Assembly members from holding any other position in a political party unlike the Governor of a State, which was debated in the case of Jegede v. INEC.

“Specifically, under section 68(d) and (e) of the Constitution, the National Assembly members are only precluded from holding executive positions in the affairs of the government of the federation or a state, such as President, Vice President, Governor, Deputy Governor, Ministers, Commissioners, or members of executive bodies.

“But on moral grounds, I believe a sitting member of the National Assembly ought not to take an executive position in a political party. This is more so, when it is similar to holding an executive position in the government of a state of the federation.”