Two Nigerian senators, Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa West) and Senator Abubakar Kyari (Borno North) who have been elected as the national chairman and deputy national chairman (North) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) have been asked to resign from office.
Adamu, who has been representing Nasarawa West since 2011, emerged as the national chairman of the party on Saturday during the national convention.
Like Adamu, Kyari has been in the Senate since 2015 when he was first elected to represent Borno North Senatorial District. He emerged through consensus as the deputy national chairman (North) of the ruling party.
Since their emergence as key members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the ruling party, tongues are wagging over their seats at the National Assembly, Daily Trust reports.
It would be recalled that the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni piloted the affairs of the party for 21 months as the head of its caretaker committee.
A senator’s seat will be declared vacant following death of the lawmaker, resignation, recall demand by constituents or court pronouncement ordering INEC to withdraw his or her certificate of return. This is done through official communication from the Senate President to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A cross section of lawyers spoken to expressed mixed reactions on the matter.
Professor Paul Ananaba (SAN) said although there is no straight law on a senator retaining another paid employment as it is for a governor in Section 183 of the Nigerian Constitution, 1999, the senators have a moral duty to quit.
“Having been elected to the executive, they have to choose which one to take. Being the chairman of the ruling party in the largest country in Africa is not a small work, you cannot combine it with any other responsibility,” he said.
While highlighting the conflict of interest in functioning in both offices, Ananaba said “When he (Adamu) speaks in the Senate, how do we know whether he is speaking as a chairman or as a senator? When he votes will he be voting as a chairman or as a senator?”
He said the matter can be challenged in court, explaining “I don’t think the court would be favourable to allowing a person to hold two positions; I think the court may find a way around it even though there is no straight legal provision.”
He, therefore, called on the senators to give up their positions to other Nigerians who could do the job.
On his part, Femi Falana (SAN) said the executive of the APC and those of the PDP are different sides of the same coin and both political parties are making a mockery of Nigerians.
He said his group was preoccupied with mobilising Nigerians to reject the insult by the political class.
“Very soon you will know that we are taking up the challenge,” he said.
Reacting to the matter, Debo Ologunagba, who is the spokesman for the PDP, said “It is the APC that should be bothered about whoever they choose as their leader, whether he is qualified or not, we are not worried about that.
“If the person has a corruption case against him like we have identified against the chairman, that is what concerns us, whether he is qualified or not is not for us to challenge.”