Article 84 (12): To be or not to be – Part 2 | The Guardian Nigeria News

It is therefore clear that no major decision can be taken nor that any action or law can be applied if it is contrary to the Constitution. Section 1(3) cemented the power and force of the Constitution by unequivocally stating that “if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail and such other law shall be void to the extent of incompatibility”. ”. No one can argue with that unless we don’t want to run a Federation. The question, however, is whether Section 84 (12) of the Elections Act is affected in any way by Section 1 (1), (2) and (3) of the Constitution.

Proponents of the unconstitutionality of Section 84(12) claim that the Constitution has already covered the field for those who hold public office and seek elective office. They are based on the following provisions of the Constitution.

For the President, Section 137 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution provides that:
“A person is not qualified to be elected to the office of President if, being a person employed in the public or civil service of the Federation or of any State, he has not resigned, retired or taken his retirement at least thirty days before the date of the election.

For the National Assembly, Article 66 (1) (f) of the Constitution states that:
“No person shall be elected to the Senate or House of Representatives who is employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, retired, or retired from such employment thirty days before the date of the election.”

For the Governor, Section 182 (1) (g) of the Constitution provides that:
“No person shall be qualified to be elected to the office of Governor of any State unless, being a person employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State, he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from office. employment at least thirty days before the date of the election.

For those aspiring to become members of the House of Assembly, Rule 107(1)(f) clearly states that:
“No person shall be elected to a House of Assembly if he is employed in the public service of the Federation or of any State and has not resigned, retired or retired from such employment thirty days before the date of the election.”

A community interpretation of the above provisions of the Constitution makes it clear that the target of its framers are those who are employed in the public or civil service of the Federation or a State. No other interpretation can be given that does not lead to manifest confusion. In other words, if you are a civil servant or civil servant, you cannot remain in office and at the same time apply for elective office. This is rational and logical, otherwise it will lead to conflicts of interest, unjustified deployment of state resources and even abuse of power in some cases. There should be no play by those who seek to fulfill their ambition to serve their people through elective office.

Once you are no longer satisfied with your job in government or civil service and seek to become a politician, then you have to quit and face the game of politics. This is the meaning of the articles of the Constitution stated above. It is then a question of determining or defining those who are engaged or employed in the public or civil service of the Federation or of a State. The interpretation section of the Constitution is Section 318(1) of the Constitution and defines public or civil office as follows:

“Federation Civil Service” means the service of the Federation in a civilian capacity as personnel in the office of the President, Vice President, of a ministry or department of the government of the Federation entrusted with the responsibility of any government business. of the Federation. »

“State Public Service” means service of the government of a state in a civilian capacity as the staff of the office of the Governor, Deputy Governor, or any ministry or department of the state government charged with any matter of the state government”.

“Federation Public Service” means service of the Federation in any capacity to the Government of the Federation, and includes service as –
(a). Clerk or other staff of the National Assembly or of each chamber of the National Assembly;
(b). Staff Member of Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, Federal High Court, Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory Sharia Court of Appeal, Abuja, the Customary Court of Appeal for the Capital Territory, Abuja or other courts established for the Federation by this Constitution and by an Act of the National Assembly;
(vs). Member of the staff of any commission or authority established for the Federation by this Constitution or by an Act of the National Assembly;
(D). Staff of any regional council;
(e). Staff of any legal person created by an act of the National Assembly;
(F). Staff of any educational institution established or funded primarily by the Government of the Federation;
(g). Personnel of any company or business in which the Federation Government or its agency holds a controlling stock or interest; and
(h). Members or officers of the Federation Armed Forces or the Nigeria Police or other government security agencies established by law”.
Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate from Nigeria (SAN).