Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, has described as illegal, the withdrawal of the resignation letters earlier submitted by the former ministers Abubakar Malami and Chris Ngige.
The duo that hitherto man the ministries of Justice and Labour & Productivity had responded to the call by the president on the 11th of May directing all members of his cabinet with political ambition to resign before the 16th of May.
But in a sudden 360 degree, both Ngige and Malami rescinded their earlier decisions and decided to hold onto their former jobs.
But Falana in a statement issued on Friday 13th May said their action is in 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.”
Falana argued that their resignation has taken effect and they can’t return on their on volition adding that their resignation isn’t the same as cabinet reshuffle adding that they are like removed ministers.
The statement reads:
“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.
“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 Chris Ngige were reported to have withdrawn their letters of resignation after the farewell meeting. 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.”