The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has dismissed the demand for his resignation from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) following his appointment as spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council.
The Transition Monitoring Group had demanded Keyamo’s resignation from the government over his appointment into the APC campaign council.
The Chairman of TMG, Awwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, who addressed journalists at the weekend criticised the nomination and pointed out that Keyamo would have to quit as a minister in order for him to fulfill his campaign duty.
He said: “The Transition Monitoring Group is urging him (Keyamo) to step aside and focus on his new work so that there won’t be too much conflict of interest and there will be productivity in the work he is doing as a spokesperson.
“Combining these roles is completely a conflict of interest. He is to speak for the general public as a minister but now, his job is for his presidential candidate.”
However, Keyamo in a statement he personally signed on Sunday, described Rafsanjani’s position as “untenable and ill-informed.”
He promised to continue serving the nation and the APC.
The statement read: “My attention has been drawn to a statement by a certain CSO alleging a conflict of interest between my role as a Campaign Spokesperson and as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Firstly, without meaning to demean them, these are people fully aligned to opposition parties but disguising as CSOs. We know them. I cannot recall a single statement like this from these people throughout the PDP era when PDP ministers were fully involved in presidential campaign activities.
“For instance in 2015, my brother, Special Duties Minister, Kabiru Turaki, served as the Deputy Director-General (North) of the PDP/Jonathan Campaign Council. These characters kept mum.
“So, you can be sure that this is PDP speaking through one of their NGOs. Secondly, I am a full member of my party, the APC, and I am entitled to participate in party activities. My dues to my party are deducted every month from my meagre salary and sent to the party. Being a Director in a campaign Council is like every other party activity.
“They want to deny me of my fundamental human right to freedom of association because I am a minister. Thirdly, there is no conflict of interest. I fail to see any. Am I using public resources to campaign? Not at all.
“Section 84 of the Electoral Act clearly states that political appointees are to resign if they are to contest for any party position or any public office. No mention was made of ad hoc appointments for party activities. So, strictly speaking, no law is being violated here.
“Therefore the so-called position of these people is untenable, ill-informed, and consequently rejected. They are jittery about the stout defence of our party and Government we are putting up and the unblemished projection of Asiwaju BOLA Ahmed Tinubu (our candidate) that we are making. I am sorry to disappoint them, but I will serve my country and I will serve my party.”
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