Prince Tonye Princewill: Courts will decide on Clause 84 if NASS doesn’t expunge it –
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress APC and former Governorship Candidate in Rivers state, Prince Tonye Princewill has advised the National Assembly to heed the advice of President Muhammadu Buhari to expunge the clause which bars political appointees from serving as convention delegates without first resigning their appointments. Princewill Tonye told Sunday Vanguard in Abuja that the courts would be the last resort for political party candidates if the lawmakers remain recalcitrant.
Clause 84 stipulates that anyone holding a political office – ministers, commissioners, special advisers, and others – must relinquish the position before they can be eligible to participate in the electoral process either as a candidate or as a delegate. Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, Princewill said; “Two observations come to mind. One, the election date will have to be shifted to meet the clause that has imposed on INEC a 360 day timeline to announce the date of elections to the office of President.
The other implication is public office holders will have to resign before they contest a primary. That is in contravention of the constitution, as the President has pointed out, so either the lawmakers will amend it or candidates will go to court to challenge it if they are denied the privilege of contesting an election on the grounds that they have not resigned. That leaves it in the hands of the Supreme Court and my money is on the side of public office holders to win, if the National Assembly refuse to heed the advice of their President. “But make no mistake, this is a historic day in the affairs of our politics. Our Political parties would now be best advised to only chose candidates who are popular with their people. Otherwise Nigerians will do it for them”. On his part, an APC National Chairmanship aspirant, Mallam Saliu Mustapha has commended President Buhari for proving critics wrong by assenting to the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill 2022. He said in a statement issued on his behalf by his media aide, Dapo Okubanjo, that as a long- standing loyalist, he always knew that the President has an unmatched democratic trait. The Turaki of ilorin also expressed hope that the two chambers of the National Assembly would take heed of the advice handed down by the President on clause 84 of the new Electoral Act “As for the leadership of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party PDP which had been sowing seeds of discord in the mind of unsuspecting Nigerians, I hope the Presidential assent has now shut them up”.