The State Secretary of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Bauchi State Chapter, Alh. Sani Garba Agogo has warn the Chairman,
Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission (BASIEC), to be careful with the instructions or directives of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) given to the Commission in a letter dated 8th September, 2020, titled: “Declaration of Assets by Officers Contesting for Elections. The PRP letter reads:
“Sequel to the letter from Code of Conduct Bureau, dated 8th September, 2020, which your enviable office forwarded to the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) among others for our information and compliance, we wish to state as follows:
- That this letter is the most unfortunate single but shocking event that confront us since the beginning of this exercise.
- That we expect the Commission to reply the Code of Conduct Bureau without forwading same to political psrties as the issue raised is a very clear one that the CCB is only trying to interfare with this long awaited election simpliciter without any legal basis but, perhaps, trying to test the will abd resolve of the Commission.
- That even going by the provisions of the Part I of the Third Schedule, paragraph 3(a) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) the Code of Conduct Bureau wish to rely on, there is no where it can refer to contestants as Public Officers, as the Schedule only provides thus:
“3. The Bureau shall have power to:
(a) receive declarations by public officers made under paragraph 12 of Part I of the Fifth Schedule to this Constitution;
(b) examine the declarations in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Conduct or any law;
(c) retain custody of such declarations and make them available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria on such terms and conditions as the National Assembly may prescribe;
(d) ensure compliance with and, where appropriate, enforce the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law relating thereto;
(e) receive complaints about non-compliance with or breach of the provisions of the Code of Conduct or any law in relation thereto, investigate the complaint and, where appropriate, refer such matters to the Code of Conduct Tribunal;
(f) appoint, promote, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over the staff of the Codes of Conduct Bureau in accordance with the provisions of an Act of the National Assembly enacted in that behalf; and
(g) carry out such other functions as may be conferred upon it by the National Assembly.”
- That on the question, who is a public officer under the Constitution in relation to the Code of Conduct Bureau. Our position is simply that if you look at the Part I of the Fifth Schedule, the word ‘Public Officer’ was interpreted to mean: “public office” means a person holding any of the offices specified in Part II of this Schedule; and “public office” shall not include the chairmanship or membership of ad hoc tribunals, commissions or committees”
This takes us to the Part II of the Fifth Schedule where the list of persons who should be referred to as Public Officers for the purposes of the Code of conduct is given as follows:
“1. The President of the Federation.
- The Vice-President of the Federation.
- The President and Deputy President of the Senate Speakers and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives and Speakers and Deputy Speakers of Houses of Assembly of States, and all members and staff of legislative houses.
- Governors and Deputy Governors of States.
- Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justices of the Supreme Court, President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, all other judicial officers and all staff of courts of law.
- Attorney-General of the Federation and Attorney-General of each State.
- Ministers of the Government of the Federation and Commissioners of the Governments of the States.
- Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and all members of the armed forces of the Federation.
- Inspector-General of Police, Deputy Inspector-General of Police and all members of the Nigeria Police Force and other government security agencies established by law.
- Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of the Civil service, Permanent Secretaries, Directors-Generals and all other persons in the civil service of the Federation or of the State.
- Ambassadors, High Commissioners and other officers of Nigeria Missions abroad.
- Chairman, members and staff of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Code of Conduct Tribunal.
- Chairman, members and staff of local government councils.
- Chairman and members of the Boards or other governing bodies and staff of statutory corporations and of companies in which the Federal or State Governments or local governments councils.
- All staff of universities, colleges and institutions owned and financed by the Federal or State Governments or local government councils.
- Chairman, members and staff of permanent commissions or councils appointed on full time basis.”
We therefore, wish to call the urgent attention of the Commission (Bauchi State Independent Electoral Commission) to be very vigilant in preventing any attempt by any authrity or persons from interfaring with the smooth conduct of the Local Government Council Elections in Bauchi State.
We finally urge the Commission to demand the immediate withdrawal of the directive given by the Code of Conduct Bureau and demand an apology on behalf of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), or we will be left with nothing but a possible alternative of taking the most appropriate action against you.
Please accept the assurances of our best regard.