Bukola Saraki, the former Senate President in Abuja on Saturday, called on ministers and other political government appointees seeking electoral offices in the forthcoming 2023 election to resign and quit the office before pursuing their interests/ambitions.
Bukola Saraki also faulted Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari for requesting the National Assembly to scrap section 84 (12) of the recently signed Electoral Act, which specifically bars government appointees from participating in party conventions and congresses.
He said this while responding to a question from Punch newspaper correspondent some minutes after he met with the National Youth Leader of the PDP with the Zonal and State Youth Leaders at the Party’s National Secretariat in Abuja.
This reaction is coming barely three days after the Senate, on their last sitting on Wednesday, rejected President Buhari’s request in regards to the amendment of Section 84 (12) of the Electoral Act.
Despite a court order barring the Senate from acting on the bill, the bill scaled the first reading on Tuesday.
Former Senate President Bukola Saraki, speaking about the recently amended electoral act which President Buhari assented to on February 25, 2022, and thereafter Buhari’s request for the National Assembly to expunge section 84(12), said there is no reason for an appointee to remain in an office while contesting for an elective office.
“I disagree with that. I mean, why should someone in political office use the influence of political office to contest? We talked about the participation of youths. What chance does the young Nigerian have to contest somebody who’s sitting in public office; has access to power by influence; has access to funds of government?
“If you want to contest, for heaven’s sake, go out, resign and go and contest? Why would you stay in political office? It’s even wrong for us to be debating it. It is so selfish.
“If you truly want to represent this country, why do you have to remain in political office? Step out and contest. And if we are talking about youths, we’re talking about people having an opportunity. What chance does a 25-year-old young man or woman have against somebody who’s a director in a government agency? We should not encourage things like these,” Saraki said.
The former Senate President stated that the new piece of legislation would go a long way towards empowering Nigerians more than ever to elect the right leaders and for young people to seek an elective office.