By Kayode Sesan
The deputy gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Benedict Effiong Ukpong did not fully resign his employment with the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) – a federal agency, facts available to BREAKING TIMES have revealed.
The unfolding development has thrown up a number of moral and ethical issues which legal experts say invalidate the joint ticket of the APC candidate in Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Umana O. Umana and his deputy, Benedict Effiong Ukpong
Documents available to BREAKING TIMES show that Mr. Ukpong has been collecting his monthly salary and allowances from September 2014 to June 2015 as a staff of the federal agency and drawing same from his First Bank account as shown by the attached attached pay slips.
According to the expressed provision of the 1999 Constitution Section 182 (1) (g) “No person shall be qualified for election to the office of Governor of a State if… being a person employed in the public service of the Federation or any State, he has not resigned, withdrawn or retired from the employment at least thirty days to the date of the election…”
Section 187 (1) of the 1999 Constitution provides that “in any election to which the foregoing provisions of this Part of this Chapter relate, candidate for the office of Governor of a State shall not be deemed to have been validly nominated for such office unless he nominates another candidate as his associate for his running for the office of Governor, who is to occupy the office of Deputy Governor…”
Section 187 (2) of the 1999 Constitution further stipulates that “The provisions of this Part of this Chapter relating to qualification for election, tenure of the office, disqualifications, declaration of assets and liabilities and the Oath of Governor shall apply in relation to the office of Deputy Governor as if references to Governor were references to Deputy Governor.”
The APC gubernatorial candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Umana Okon Umana fully aware of the above provisions, nominated Mr. Benedict Effiong Ukpong as his running mate for the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State.
Mr. Ukpong, in flagrant violation of the above constitutional provisions, did not, prior to the election of April 11, 2015, and even as at June 2015 more than two months after the election, resign his appointment with the FCTA.
Mr. Ukpong was at all times, being paid and was collecting his salaries and allowances as an employee of the FCTA as shown in the attached FCTA pay slips and First Bank particulars.
Legal experts who spoke to BREAKING TIMES on Friday say as a result of the foregoing, the failure of Umana Okon Umana’s running mate, Mr. Benedict Effiong Ukpong to fulfill the mandatory provision of Section 182 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution makes his nomination invalid for the proposes of the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election and also invalidates the purported nomination of Mr. Umana Okon Umana as the candidate of the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State.
The sour development has also exposed a can of worms drawing attention to the ethical and moral implications of what appears to be a case of lying on oath.
On his part, the Akwa Ibom State APC deputy gubernatorial candidate, Benedict Ukpong dismissed the reports that he was still drawing benefits as a serving civil servant even when parading himself as deputy gubernatorial candidate. According to him, “Sequel to the advertorial on many national and local dailies, I wish to state categorically that I retired voluntarily. Letter of approval of my retirement is available.”