The Commissioner for Power, Science and Technology in Bauchi State, Maryam Bagel, has resigned.
In her resignation letter seen by this newspaper, Mrs Bagel said she was resigning because she wanted to contest the House of Representatives seat for Dass/Bogoro/Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency in the 2023 general elections under the ruling party in the state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The seat is currently held by a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Mr Dogara was a member of the PDP until he fell out with the governor of the state, Bala Mohammed, and subsequently defected to the APC.
Mrs Bagel said she was resigning by the provision of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act, 2022.
“Sequel to the 2022 Electoral Act Section 84 (12) as amended and the circular received from the office of the Secretary to the State Government. I wish to write and tender my resignation as Honourable Commissioner in the Government of Bauchi State to enable me to pursue my aspiration to run for the office of the House of Representatives in the National Assembly come 2023.
“I want to thank his Excellency for finding me worthy to serve in your government and for enabling me to tap from your ocean of experience by working closely with you. This is what I consider a rare opportunity that I will live to cherish forever. Thank you,” she concluded.
Mrs Bagel was a member of the Bauchi State House of Assembly from 2015 to 2019.
The Electoral Act
A section of the new Electoral Act compels political appointees to resign to qualify to contest or serve as political party delegates.
The clause reads: “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 nomination of candidates for any election.”
When the Act was submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent, he complained to the National Assembly about the need to remove the clause.
The president said the provision in this Clause conflicts with the Constitution.
“It constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election.”
The Senate, however, rejected Mr Buhari’s request.
The lawmakers, in a voice vote in March, unanimously opposed a motion to amend the provision.
Mr Bala’s order to appointees
Mrs Bagel’s resignation is coming barely 24 hours after Mr Mohammed asked his appointees seeking political offices to respect the electoral act and resign before going ahead with their ambition.
The letter, signed by the secretary to the government of the state, Ibrahim Kashim, said: “His Excellency, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, CON, (Kauran Bauchi) the Executive Governor of Bauchi State has directed that all political appointees and public servants in the Bauchi State Government who are vying for political offices in the forth-coming general election should tender their letters of resignation to the Secretary to the State Government on or before Friday, 8th April 2022.
“This directive complies with the electoral Act 2022 which provides that political appointees and other public servants aspiring for political offices in the 2023 general election are to resign their appointments 30 days before the conduct of Primary elections in respect of the specific posts they are aspiring for.
“It also directed Honourable Commissioners wishing to contest to hand over their offices to the Permanent Secretaries of their respective ministries, while other political office holders should, accordingly, hand over government property in their possessions to the Permanent Secretary, General Services, Office of the Head of Civil Service, Bauchi.”