Stop the Compulsory Resignation of Civil Servants Seeking Political Offices in Nigeria.

Stop the Compulsory Resignation of Civil Servants Seeking Political Offices in Nigeria.

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Victor Alade started this petition to National Assembly (National Assembly, Abuja) and

The President, Federal Republic of Nigeria,

Distinguished Senate President,

Honorable Speaker, House of Representatives, 

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission,

RE: COMPULSORY RESIGNATION OF PUBLIC/CIVIL SERVANTS SEEKING ELECTIVE POSITIONS IN POLITICAL OFFICES IN NIGERIA

As subject refers.

Section 137 (1), item (g) of the Nigeria Constitution (1999) stipulates that “A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if being a person employed in the civil service or public service of the federation or of any state, has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least Thirty days before the date of the election..."
The same goes for the provisions of eligibility for the governors of the states and other electoral positions as captured in section 182 (1) g and other extant provisions respectively.

This means that when anyone in the public service decides to run for a political office in Nigeria, he/she must have to forfeit his/her job (which is a means of livelihood) even when they don’t have any assurance of winning.

And so, the fact that such political candidate has no hope of any job to fall back on after their tenure is one of the reasons why he/she embezzles public funds like there's no tomorrow.

It is the same reason why many young people in active public service don't want to contest for elective offices. Nobody should lose their jobs because they want to serve their people!

Political aspiration in the country already is laden with so many risks for a candidate to not have a hope of a livelihood should he/she fails in an election.

Political inclusiveness is one of the proven solutions to a prosperous nation and so I believe that aspirations to political offices must be placed on an equitable line for every citizen without any prejudice. When you critically study this clause, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) statutorily obeys; you will realize that it is importantly unhealthy to our democratic growth and needs to be changed.

It is my believe therefore that, this clause empowering INEC to mandate the compulsory resignation of prospective political candidates from active service is detrimental to our political development in many ways. At large, this is one regulation that hampers the involvement of genuine and credible people in politics and it is an enabler of Corruption.

I have a strong opinion that this part of INEC regulation should and must be abolished.

IMPLICATIONS OF THE RESIGNATION CLAUSE HITHERTO.

(1) Do-or-Die Politics

One of the reasons why most holders of political offices hold onto it by all means and never want to let go is because they do not have hope of any job to fall back on after their tenures. This makes politics a do-or-die affair for them. 

How often do Nigeria's politicians resign from their posts even when they have been indicted on massive corruption or electoral fraud cases? You cannot expect a man with nothing to fall back on outside politics to resign from a political post. The only song a politician sings in the midst of glaring case of abuse of politics in Nigeria is 'We die there!'

(2) Corruption

The resignation clause of the 1999 constitution for public servants predisposes any prospective political candidate to corruption if he eventually gets elected. Haven resigned his appointment and source of livelihood; he is compelled to steal as much money as possible in case he did not win re-election.

You will also agree with me that political aspiration in the country is laden with so many financial risks already than to have no hope of livelihood if a candidate fails during election. So, I believe this is one of the major reasons why political office holders embezzle money while in office. There is the fear of the unknown that makes politicians engage in financial crimes.

(3) Discouragement of Credible people from running for political offices.

The resignation clause is the main reason why many credible people in Nigeria do not want to contest for elective offices. Many well meaning experienced Nigerians in the private and public service who would have done fantastically in political governance of Nigeria fear losing their jobs and thus refrain from contesting. They would rather tolerate a failing government than take the initiative to run for office to make things better.

(4) Slow-Paced or No Development

By the means of this unfortunate clause in the 1999 constitution, we are losing many Nigerians in the civil service, public and private employment who have resident know-how that can help us solve our leadership problems and help the country move forward.

(5) Nigeria is being led by the Best of her Worse

By enforcing this rule of resignation on prospective political candidates, INEC has succeeded in leaving us with a country with only  half-educated opportunists to run for political offices. Ask yourself why do we have so many cases of forged or fake school certificates against our political office holders? It is simple: Many of them dont have it! We have Houses of Assemblies and National Assemblies where lawmakers engage in fisticuffs like market touts.

The point is, the resignation rule has kept serious people away from politics. We are now being ruled by the best of our nation's worse because some persons with no furlong thoughts halfwittedly made a rule that hardworking people who can actually contribute to our nations development be kept away from politics.

RECOMMENDATION, PROPOSAL AND PRAYERS

In the light of the above, I want to propose a recommendation for INEC, the National Assembly, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and their relevant committees in a bid to amending in parts the existing 1999 constitution that;

(1) A leave of absence (LOA) only should suffice for registration of a prospective political candidate and/or a political office nominee in an election. This will help promote a healthy democratic involvement of citizens and quality representation of the people.

Removing the 'resignation' clause of INEC and replacing it with a 'Leave of absence' will see the involvement of value oriented and value-driven people in politics because they know that even if they didn't get the mandate of their people to serve, at least they can go back to their previous jobs.

(1b) It is important to point out that the proposed change (Leave of Absence) to this INEC clause is foundational which i believe solves the problem of impunity and corruption by minimising, in the first place; the entrant of people with questionable characters into politics.

(2) I have a resident additional control mechanisms for this proposed amendment in (1) above. The control mechanism is a carefully worked and thought out comprehensive strategy upon which this ammendment (1) will hold political office holders accountable. However, these control mechanisms have been deliberately situated out of this online petition. I hope to expatiate on them by engaging directly with the policy makers on the issue in due course or via any invitation.

(2) There is an additional recommendation along with this proposed amendment in (1) above that aims at compeling a prospective political office holder to return to their former post upon the completion of their leave of absence, should they win or loose. This is a carefully worked and thought out comprehensive strategy upon which the ammendment in (1) will hold political office holders accountable.

However, this additional recommendation has been deliberately situated out of this online petition. I hope to expatiate on them by engaging directly with the policy makers on the issue in due course or via any invitation.

ACTION POINT: Do you think that removing the resignation clause that prevents civil service workers from running for political offices and replacing it with an option of a 'Leave of Absence' could offer a better solution to our political representation and development? If yes, then sign this petition today and encourage everyone around you to do the same.

-Victor Alade

Executive Director, Unsullied Nigerian Initiative & Convener, Campaign for Prosperity. 

For further discussion & Engagements:

E-mail:victoraladey@mail.com or join the conversation on WhatsApp: https://wa.me/2349054009027

0 have signed. Let’s get to 100!
At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!