2023: Don’t bring back aides, staff to office after contesting primaries, group tells FCT Minister

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The Coalition for Good Governance and Advocacy (CGA) has urged Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Muhammad Musa Bello not to allow his aides or FCT staff who contested any elected post in the party primaries to return to the office.

Comrade Hassan Dangiwa, the group’s coordinator, and Samuel Joshua, the group’s secretary, made this known to journalists in Abuja.

Saying, it is an aberration of the law and a severe assault on the country’s Constitution for appointees who participated in primary elections to consider returning to their respective offices.

According to group: “We learnt from a reliable source that the FCTA Mandate Secretary Health and Human Services Secretariat who may have taken part in the primary elections under the People Democratic Party (PDP) in Jigawa state and others who may have discretely gone for primaries are planning to come back and they
didn’t make their intention know to the general public according to the civil service rules and return to retain their offices.

“It on record that Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, conveyed the list of affected public officials in a circular dated 11th May, 2022 with reference number, Ref. No.SGF/OP/l/S.3/Xll/173 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Ministers, Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Heads of Parastatals and Agencies of the Government among others.

“The affected persons are all ministers, heads and members of extra-ministerial departments, agencies and parastatals of government, ambassadors, as well as other political appointees who desire to contest for elective offices.

“The affected ministers are to hand over to ministers of state where they exist or to the permanent secretary, where there is no minister of state, for smooth running of the machinery of government and foreign missions.

” The circular read: “Mr President has observed and noted the expression of interest and intention by some members of the Federal Executive Council, Heads of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Agencies, Parastatals of Government, Ambassadors and other political officeholders to contest the upcoming Presidential, Gubernatorial, National and State Assemblies elections.

” We also want the public to peruse the circular by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HoS) Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan who ordered all civil servants to steer clear of partisan politics and by extension from engaging in the 2023 general election.She cited provisions of the Public Service Rules (PSR), which she noted do not allow civil servants to engage in partisan politics.

“She made the clarification via a circular HCSF/479/11/19, dated May 5, 2022.The elucidation came about after her office was inundated with requests for clarification on the provision of the PSR vis-à-vis the Supreme Court Judgment as it relates to participation of civil servants in partisan politics.

“The provisions of Rules 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules (2008 Edition) were not nullified by the Supreme Court, hence, they remain in force and binding on all civil servants seeking to participate in nomination exercises or party primaries”.Malami also asserted that the provisions of Rules 030402 (g), 030422 and 030423 of the PSR (2008 Edition) should be enforced, noting the attention of civil servants should be drawn to the fact that the Supreme Court judgment in INEC vs Musa did not set aside or nullify these provisions of the PSR, hence, they must be complied with by any civil servant who wishes to seek nomination or participation in party primary elections.

“The circular subsequently noted that in the overall best interest of neutrality, harmony, integrity and development of the civil service, all civil servants were strongly advised to be guided by the provisions of PSR and the legal opinion of the Attorney General of the Federation Minister of Justice on the subject.

“She urged that the contents of the circular that was copied the Chief of Staff to the President, all serving ministers and ministers of state, the National Security Adviser, permanent secretaries, Chairman EFCC, among others, should be given the widest circulation for the compliance of all concerned. We condemned such act of greed and unruly act of insensitivity. They must not be allowed to return back to their offices in FCT. It is unlawful.

” It is clear that the President assented to an electoral act that forbid anyone to remain in an appointed office while contesting for an elective office.

” It’s unfair for any aid, a civil servant or former aid of the minister to come back to the office after contested an election. why should someone in political office use the influence of political office to contest and still want to return to government office. The minister should know that somebody who’s sitting in public office; has access to power by influence; has access to funds of government. And that should not be allowed.

“If you have made up your mind to contest an election, for heaven’s sake, go out, resign properly and go and contest? Why would you stick in political office? Or want to come back to the office you left for an election, It’s even wrong for us to be debating it. It is so selfish.

“If you truly want to represent this country, why do you have to remain in political office? Or want to come back, Step out and contest completely. Or if you fail in your contest remian there and support your party you believe in completely” he said.