By Suleiman Umaru
When Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had said last January , that he is under intense Pressure from his people to contest the 2023 governorship election in Kaduna state, many believe he will win. This is because of his closeness to Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Administration and now governor of the state.
He may have taken advantage of the 2022, Electoral Act which had been signed into Law, by President Muhammadu Buhari, in which section 84, (12) and which had declared that political appointees nursing political ambitions must first resign from their office before pursuing their new vocation was been contested in Court.
The clause reads that ‘’No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted at the convention or congress of any political party or the purpose of nomination of candidates for any election’’.
But Buhari said the clause constituted a ‘’disfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at conventions or congresses of any political party, for the purpose of nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the national election’’
Given that the section 84, (12) of the Electoral Act is currently being contested in Court may have encouraged Jamoh to join other political appointees nursing political ambition to raise the N50 million to purchase the governorship form in Kaduna state.
He was said to have spent a lot of money and time in Kaduna seeking support from the delegates for his governorship ambition. Unknown to him, the governor and the Leadership of the party had decided to field Senator Uba Sani, as the party Consensus candidate in the 2023 governorship election in the state. He was said to have been compelled to withdraw from the race. Recall that there were 17 aspirants from the All Progressive Congress, APC, Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, New Nigerian People’s Party, NNPP, who had declared their intention to succeed, El-Rufai after the 2023 general elections, including Hajia Hadiza Balarebe., the state deputy governor.
Until Jamoh, the NIMASA, DG, entered into the governorship race in Kaduna state, El-Rufai , had consistently said that ‘’the person that will succeed him will be a member of the inner cacus’’. Three aspirants were said to have been perceived in the state as members of the governor’s inner circle in the state. They are Hajia Balarabe, the deputy governor, Senator Sani and one Sani Datijo. He has never at any time mentioned Jamoh, the DG, NIMASA, who had remained very supportive of his Administration over the last three years as a member of the inner caucus.
According to informed sources, Sani, who may have won the heart of the governor and the party Leadership is regarded as the Commander of grassroots appeals and was said to have raised the bar of the performance in the state over the last seven years.
The selection of Senator Sani, as the party consensus governorship candidate may have forced the NIMASA boss who was said to have held a meeting with his campaign council and other top officials of the movement on May 5, 2022, to announce to their bewilderment that he has officially ‘’stepped down from the governorship race in Kaduna state due to some personal reason for his own good and the entire people of Kaduna state’’.
Jamoh, the NIMASA ,boss may have read the handwriting on the wall that the game is up when the Katsina state born Nigerian President asked all political appointees nursing political ambition to resign on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, before Monday ,May 16, 2022.
Many had expected the Nigerian President to keep to his directive but he had failed to do so. He may have given opportunity to the political appointees who had submitted their resignation letter to withdraw it and return to their office. Abubakar Malami, the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation may be one of them who was still in the process of submitting his resignation Letter as he was still doing his official work.
He had filed a suit at the Supreme Court on April 29, 2022, at the instance of the Nigerian President, seeking an interpretation of section section 84,(12) of the Electoral Act as Amended. He had headed to the Supreme Court on Monday, May 16, 2022, seeking an order of the apex Court to strike ‘’out that section of the Electoral Act, stressing that ‘’it is inconsistent with the nation’s Constitution’’.
Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President who was not happy at the step that was been taken by the Executive arm of Government to tinker with the Electoral Act , has warned the Judiciary against ‘’meddling in the affairs and processes of the Legislature’’. Already A Federal High Court in Abuja had barred Buhari and the AGF, from tampering with the newly amended Electoral Act 2022.
Recall that prior to heading to the Supreme Court on May 16, 2022, the Buhari has asked all political appointees to resign between May 11, 2022 and May 16, 2022. . Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture had confirmed that some of the political appointees had resigned their appointment while some are in the process of do so.
Chris Ngige, minister of Labour and Employment, may have laid the foundation for others to follow. The duo, Paullen Tallen, minister of Women Affairs and Malami, minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation , who were said to have withdrawn their Letter of resignation, had attended last Wednesday, Federal Executive Council FEC, meeting chaired, by the Nigerian President, meaning that they have been recalled to the Cabinet. It was not surprising why Jamo, the NIMASA, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, had joined the other political appointees who had withdrawn their resignation Letter to do so.
Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity had told those that cares to listen that ‘’the President will take a decision on the fate of the political appointees who had made U-turn too withdraw their resignation letter’’.
There have been jubilation in NIMASA circles when information filtered out that Jamoh has withdrawn his resignation letter from the office of Boss Mustapha, Secretary to Government of the Federation, to return to his office and continue his work from where he had stopped.
An insider told The Value News that for the period he was been away to pursue his new vocation, there was have been little or no activities going on in the agency as most staff have cried out for him to come back. Even Pirates operating in Nigerian waters and the gulf of Guinea were said to have heaved a sigh of relief that he was left the agency to play politics but they got it wrong as the President may have provided a window for the Political appointees who had resigned to withdraw their resignation Letters and return to their work.