By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Mr Tokunbo Talabi, Chief of Staff to Governor Dapo Abiodun, Shuaibu Afolabi Salisu, Special Adviser on Political Matters, Samson Egbetokun and 32 other political appointees have resigned to seek elective position in 2023.
Some of the other appointees who have resigned, according to sources, are Tunji Akinosi, Commissioner for Forestry; Afolabi Afuape, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Adijat Adeleye-Oladapo, Special Adviser on Women Affairs; Dapo Okubadejo, Commissioner for Finance/Economic Adviser to the governor; and Jagunmolu Omoniyi, Commissioner for Housing.
It was learnt that the appointees tendered their resignation letters in a hushed process managed by the office of the SSG.
Last week, Mr Talabi’s office released a directive from the governor requiring political appointees wishing to run for office in the 2023 general elections to tender their resignation at a special desk in the SSG’s office.
It is believed that the carefully guarded process was taken to beat the clause in the newly assented Electoral Act 2022 which provides that political appointees must completely vacate their offices for eligibility to participate in party primaries.
Section 84 (12) of the new electoral law provides that: “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
While Messrs Salisu, Akinosi, Afuape, Okubadejo, Jagunmolu and Mrs Adeleye-Oladapo seek seats in the House of Representatives to represent Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/Odeda, Ado-Odo/Ota, Abeokuta South, Ijebu Central, Yewa South/Ipokia, and Ifo/Ewekoro Federal Constituencies respectively, Messrs Talabi and Egbetokun are believed to be eyeing a seat to represent Ogun East and Ogun Central respectively at the Senate.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari had asked the National Assembly to delete the clause because political appointees would be disenfranchised.
“Section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at Conventions or Congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the National Election,” the president argued.
But, on Monday, the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court stopped the President, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami and the Senate President Ahmad Lawan from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act 2022.