The Coalition of the United Political Parties on Thursday says it has filed a suit to challenge the continuous stay in office of some aides of President Muhammadu Buhari, who have refused to vacant office without fresh appointments.
The spokesperson for CUPP, Mr Imo Ugochinyere, at a press briefing on Thursday said the coalition in the suit was seeking orders declaring the offices vacant, the aides as illegal occupants and impostors and that their continuous stay in office was in violation of the constitution.
He said, “The former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, is still in that office, Senator Ita Enang is still parading himself as Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate); Mr Abba Kyari is still parading himself as the Chief of Staff to the President; Mr Femi Adesina is still appearing on television programmes as Special Adviser to the President on Media, likewise Mr Garba Shehu, who is parading himself as a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
“These among other officials of the Presidency are still illegally occupying their former offices without any lawful authority as the President has not made any announcement to the nation that he has appointed or reappointed officers into those positions.
“Section 151 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended clearly provides: Any appointment made pursuant to the provisions of this section shall be at the pleasure of the President and shall cease when the President cease to hold office.”
Affirming that Buhari’s first term expired in the midnight of May 28 before he was sworn in again for a second term with fresh oath of office and a new mandate, Ugochinyere maintained that all political appointments made in his first term, except statutory ones, had ceased to exist.
“These officers who are parading themselves as officers of the government without formal appointments have violated the Code of Conduct Act which demands that political office holders must declare their assets before commencement of service to the government (this violation our lawyers are already working on seeking order for prosecution of these officers for carrying out functions of government without declaring their assets).
“The impunity with which this government has been known continues as long as the President, despite the clear provisions of the constitution, allows his aides to continue in office.
“President Buhari’s inability to appoint personal/presidential aides or indeed any other appointments over one month after taking the oath of office is a sign the President is still not yet ready to govern and lacks understanding of the urgency needed to fix Nigeria. This was the same path that landed Nigeria in recession in 2015. How a President seems to want to do the same thing over again yet expects to receive a different result is worrying.”
He counselled all affected aides to stay away from their former offices until and unless they were armed with fresh appointment letters or risk criminal prosecution and trial for violation of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act.
He also called for refund of all salaries, wages and allowances they had received while “illegally occupying” the office to the national treasury without exceptions.