Niger Delta Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance Group (Niger Delta TAG), has asked Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to immediately resign as minister of Transportation, having publicly declared to contest the 2023 presidential election.
Amaechi, recently in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, declared his interest in the election.
“I stand before you today to declare my intention and submit my application to serve as your next president,” Amaechi told party supporters at an event that was promoted as a “thanksgiving service” and organised by the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, the national coordinator of the Niger Delta Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance Group, Chief Julius Godspower, said while it is within Amaechi’s rights to seek election into the highest office in the country, it is “immoral, illegal and unethical” for him to remain in office as a Minister and a member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet while chasing his political ambition.
“The Minister placed the cart before the horse. The proper thing to do would have been to first resign, before declaring his presidential ambition. It is rather unfortunate that due process was not followed by the Minister and I hope President Muhammadu Buhari will direct him to step down immediately.
“Be that as it may, the proper thing to do now is for him to immediately resign to pursue his dream. Remaining in office as minister while pursuing his presidential ambition will be a huge distraction to the government. The transport sector is in a very bad state, and it is bound to suffer more with a presidential aspirant as Minister.
“Also, the situation creates a clear conflict of interest for the Minister. How are we sure contractors and agencies under the Federal Ministry of Transportation will not be cajoled or compelled to support his presidential bid one way or the other?
“Aside from being immoral and unethical with the attendant conflict of interest, it is also illegal for him to pursue the presidential bid whilst still serving as minister. His ambition could create a huge legal problem for the ruling party considering that Section 84(12) of the new Electoral Act does not allow serving political appointees to vote or be voted during party primaries.
“Don’t forget that Section 84(12) of the new Electoral Act is still a matter of litigation and could create a major dilemma for the ruling party if Amaechi fights for the party ticket whilst holding on to the office of Minister. It is therefore better for him to resign immediately so as not to jeopardise the chances of the ruling party in the 2023 presidential election,” Godspower said.