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Head of service warns civil servants against participating in partisan politics

Head of service warns civil servants against participating in partisan politics
May 06
13:58 2022

Folasade Yemi-Esan, the head of service of the federation, has asked civil servants to abide by provisions of the Public Service Rules (PSR) (2008 edition) on partisan politics.

This was in a memo dated May 5, 2022 seen by TheCable

Yemi-Esan said her office has been overwhelmed with requests seeking clarification to the provisions of PSR in relation to the supreme court judgment of civil servants in partisan politics.

The head of service quoted a legal opinion issued by Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation, in 2018, wherein the AGF said neither supreme court nor the 1999 constitution authorises civil servants to engage in partisan politics.

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In the memo, the AGF was also quoted to have said the supreme court judgment in the case of INEC vs Musa did not set aside or nullify rules 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules.

Rule 030422 of the Public Service Rules states:

“No officer shall, without express permission of the government, whether on duty or leave of absence:

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“(b) offer himself/herself or nominate anyone else as a candidate for
any elective public office including membership of a Local Government
Council, State or National Assembly.

“(c) indicate publicly his support of or opposition to any party, candidate or policy;

“(d) engage in canvassing in support of political candidates.

Rule 030423 of the Public Service Rules states:

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“Resignation is necessary before seeking elective public office. Howbeit, any officer wishing to engage in partisan political activities or seek elective public office shall resign his/her appointment
forthwith.

Yemi-Esan advised civil servants to be guided by provisions of the PSR and the legal opinion of Malami in the “overall best interest of neutrality, harmony, and integrity”.

“In the light of the above, it has become necessary to draw the attention of all civil servants to the legal opinion of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (HAGF &MJ) on this matter,” the memo reads.

“In his letter, Ref. No. SGF/PS/HCSF/210/11 dated 26th November, 2018, HAGF & MJ asserted, inter alia, that: “neither the 1999 Constitution nor the Supreme Court has authorized civil servants to engage in partisan politics. The provisions of Rules 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules (2008 Edition) were not nullified by the Supreme Court, hence, they remain in force and binding on all civil servants seeking to participate in nomination exercises or party primaries”.

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“He concluded that: “the provisions of Rules 030402(g), 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules (2008 Edition) should be enforced… and that the attention of civil servants (be drawn) to the fact that the Supreme Court judgment in INEC vs Musa did not set aside or nullify these provisions of the Public Service Rules, hence, they must be complied with by any civil servant who wishes to seek nomination or participation in party primary elections”.

“Accordingly, in the overall best interest of neutrality, harmony, integrity and development of Nigerian Civil Service, all civil servants are strongly advised to be guided by the provisions of PSR and the legal opinion of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation/Minister of Justice on the subject.”

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