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2023: Nigerian Govt. bars civil servants from partaking in primaries

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2023: Nigerian Govt. bars civil servants from partaking in primaries

The Federal Government has reiterated the prohibition on civil servants to partake in primary elections.

This was contained in a circular by the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folashade Esan, obtained on Friday.

The circular came hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission asked political parties to conduct their primaries for the nomination of candidates from April 4 to June 3.

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The circular dated May 5 was titled, ‘Clarification on the provision of public service vis-avis the Supreme Court judgement as it relates to participation of civil servant in partisan politics’.

It read in part, “The Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation has been inundated with requests for clarification on the provision of Public Service Rules vis-à-vis the Supreme Court Judgment as it relates to the participation of civil servants in partisan politics.

“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. In his letter, Ref. No. SGF/PS/HCSF/210/11 dated 26th November 2018, HAGF &MJ asserted, inter Cilia 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’.

“He concluded that: ‘provisions of Rules 030402(g), 030422 and 030423 of the Public Service Rules (2008 Edition) should be enforced … and ‘hot 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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