The Sokoto State Government has given civil servants who are interested in contesting in the 2023 general elections 24 hours to resign.
A statement dated March, 7, 2022 and signed by the Head of Service in the state, Abubakar Muhammad, hinged their decision on the amended electoral act.
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The statement reads: “In compliance with the Electoral Act, 2022…all civil servants at the state and local government levels wishing to contest elective positions in the forthcoming 2023 general elections are hereby advised to resign their positions effective from 8th March, 2022 by midnight.
“A desk officer has been appointed in the office of the Head of Service for the purpose. The desk officer can be contacted through 08024442263.”
The desk officer, who was later contacted by our reporter, said he would confirm the decision at the office and call our reporter back.
He did not call back as of the time of filing this report.
A private lawyer in the state, Muhmmad Nuhu, said the government had gotten it wrong because section 84(10)of the new electoral act was only referring to political appointees not civil servant.
“By section 84(10) no political appointee shall be a voting delegate or shall be voted for at all levels of the political party conventions or congress.
“They may interprete that it include civil servants but actually it is not referring to civil servants.
“The Constitution is clear about the participation of civil servant in political elections, that they must resign three months to the election.
“So the provision is not targeting civil servant but political appointee,” he said.
The state Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, Aminu Umar Ahmed, said they were still studying the circular to understand its content before making their stand known.
“The circular is not yet clear to us. We may seek clarification from the Head of Service with a view to educating our members better,” he .
When contacted, the Head of Service clarified that their decision was in line with the new electoral law.
“It is in line to what is happening in the country.
“Any civil servant who want to contest for election, this is what the Constitution said and what the new electoral law says. We don’t know which is which.
“This is why we advised those who wish to participate to bring their notice in line with the new electoral law, unless there is another interpretation.”
On the assertion of that the new electoral act targets only political appointees, he said “we have to play safe.
“If we later realise that the law is not referring to civil servants, we will issue another circular to that effect.”