Malami, Ngige’s withdrawal of Resignation letters illegal, says Falana, SAN

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Falana said withdrawal of resignation as was done by Ngige and Malami was illegal as it constitutes a gross contravention of section 306 (2) of the Constitution.

 

 

Despite the withdrawal of their resignation letters as ministers, the days of Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity, and Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) may have effectively come to an end.

This is the position of Mr. Femi Falana, SAN in a statement he issued on Friday.

Falana said having resigned, the two ministers cannot just change their minds and resume their jobs as cabinet ministers.



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Ngige, on April 19, declared interest to contest for the office of the President on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He made the declaration in his home town, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

Malami also declared interest in contesting the governorship of his home state, Kebbi.

However, on Friday, Ngige, former Governor of Anambra State, said he had changed his mind and was no longer interested in the presidential race.

In s statement he personally signed, Ngige said he took the decision after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari and consulting widely with his family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers.

He said his decision to withdraw from the race has been communicated to the President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

“Having also consulted widely with my family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers, it is my pleasure to announce the withdrawal of my interest and earlier decision to contest the office of the President in the 2023 general election.

“As a result of this, I will NOT be participating in any of the internal party processes of the said election, starting with the primary. I took this momentous decision firstly in the overall interest of the nation, in order to enable me concentrate on my job, and assist the President and the Government, weather the difficult last lap, in the life of the administration and secondly for other family reasons.

“My constituents, political associates and well-wishers across the country are by this statement informed of this latest decision, which also has the blessing and support of the overwhelming majority, hence supersedes any other interest, personal or otherwise.”

But the volte face of the two ministers, apparently was not voluntary.

On Wednesday President Muhammadu Buhari at the FEC meeting gave all political appointees interested in elective positions to resign on or before Monday, May 16 in order to pursue their respective ambitions.

Ngige and Malami complied with the directive and were among the ministers that Buhari bid farewell in a valedictory session on Friday.

Falana said to turn around after resigning and the resignation accepted by the appointive authority and do otherwise is illegal.

Falana said such withdrawal of resignation as done by Ngige and Malami was illegal as it constitutes a gross contravention of section 306 (2) of the Constitution which stipulates that, “The resignation of any person from any office established by this Constitution shall take effect when the writing signifying the resignation is received by the authority or person to whom it is addressed or by any person authorised by that authority or person to receive it.”

Recalling what happened, Falana said: “At the last Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari directed all ministers and other political appointees who aspire to contest for elective offices in the 2023 General Elections to resign their appointments.

“In compliance with the directive, nine Ministers resigned their appointments. The former ministers are Rotimi Amaechi, Godswill Akpabio, Ogbonnaya Onu, Timipre Sylva, Chris Ngige, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Uche Ogah, Pauline Tallen and Chief Tayo Alasoadura.

“In a farewell meeting held with the former ministers on Friday, May 13, 2022, President Buhari thanked them for serving the nation sacrificially, ‘with dignity and honour’.

“While wishing them success in the upcoming elections and in future endeavours the President commended them for their decision and courage to contest for elective offices and their compliance with his directive.”

Falana, who is the Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB), further said, “Having resigned from the Buhari administration Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN and Dr. Chris Ngige were reported to have withdrawn their letters of resignation after the farewell meeting.”

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria and human rights lawyer said such withdrawal is illegal.

“Since the resignation of the former Ministers has taken effect, they cannot return to the cabinet either on their own volition or on the directive of the President.

“The resignation of the Ministers is not a cabinet reshuffle. It is akin to the removal of the former Ministers by the President.

“Therefore, if the former Ministers are going to be reappointed the President is required by section 147 of the Constitution to submit names to the Senate for fresh screening and confirmation.”



Call Bridget Edokwe Esq on 08060798767 or send your email to ngbarrister@gmail.com


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