Prof Obiaraeri Disagrees with Falana SAN on Implication of Withdrawal of Resignation Letters By Some Ministers!

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Professor Obiaraeri is a University Don, and a Former Dean of the faculty of law Imo state University, Owerri.

A Former Dean of the faculty of law Imo state University, Owerri, Prof Obiaraeri has faulted the position of Femi Falana SAN on Implication of Withdrawal of Resignation Letters By Some Ministers!.

BarristerNG reported that the right Activist, stated that the withdrawal of resignation by Ministers is illegal.

⚖️ FEMI FALANA SAN WROTE >>>>” WITHDRAWAL OF RESIGNATION LETTERS BY FORMER MINISTERS IS ILLEGAL

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 nine 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.

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 Chris Ngige were reported to have withdrawn their letters of resignation after the farewell meeting.



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Such withdrawal is illegal as it is 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.”

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.

Femi Falana SAN,
Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB)

May 13, 2022

⚖️

PROF OBIARAERI’S REJOINDER📌

Respectfully, I do not agree with the above position taken by Falana SAN because from the facts available in the public domain, it is premature to activate the provisions of section 306(2) of the 1999 Constitution being relied upon against the named Ministers who have timeously withdrawn their resignation lettters.

The critical question is, at what point is a letter of resignation from Federal cabinet said to be received by the addressee being Mr President?

There is no evidence of a written acknowledgent of the letter and acceptance of the letter of resignation by the person to whom it was addressed.

It does not call for too much argument that since the resignation was conveyed in a letter, an acknowledgement of receipt and acceptance of resignation should be in writing and until then, the writer of the letter of resignation is at liberty to withdraw it provided (if) the addressee is willing to disregard it.

In this case, there is no resignation but a failed attempt to resign. Attendance in a FEC meeting and symbolic presence in what journalists termed valedictory session does not amount to a written acceptance of a resignation conveyed in written form.

Section 306(2) will not therefore apply in the circumstance giving the facts available in the public domain.

Those Ministers who withdrew their letters timeously are not liable to be reappointed and represented to the Senate for fresh screening under section 147 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

A new normal is possible.

🖋️

Prof Obiaraeri, N.O
13 May, 2022



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