By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has announced his withdrawal from the 2023 presidential race.
Senator Ngige, in a statement he personal signed, said that he had earlier met with the President in the early hours of Friday.
Recall that President Buhari held a valedictory session with 10 cabinet members that had indicated interest to contest election in 2023 and the Labour and Employment Minister participated in the session, which was held at the Presidential Villa.
But Senator Ngige, in the statement, said after meeting with the President and consultations with his family members, friends, political associates and constituents, he has decided to pull out of the presidential race.
The statement read: “On Tuesday, 19th April 2022, I publicly declared my interest to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, following the constitutional provision that precludes our amiable incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari from seeking re-election to the office, as he would have completed his two terms in office by 29th May 2023
“The declaration was made in my home town, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
“My declaration was sequel to pressure on me from my constituents, political associates, friends and other well-meaning Nigerians, who felt I possess the necessary qualifications and experience for the job.
“Some of these supporters even taxed themselves to procure the Expression of Interest/ Nomination Forms of our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for me. The forms however are yet to be filled and submitted.
“Today, 13th May, 2022, I had an audience with the President, Muhammadu Buhari as a follow-up to the one I earlier had with him on 11th May, 2022.
“Having also consulted widely with my family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers, it is my pleasure to announce the withdrawal of my interest and earlier decision to contest the office of the President in the 2023 general elections.
“As a result of this, I will NOT be participating in any of the internal party processes of the said election, starting with the primary.
“I took this momentous decision firstly in the overall interest of the nation, in order to enable me concentrate on my job, and assist the President and the Government, weather the difficult last lap, in the life of the administration and secondly for other family reasons.
“I have since communicated this decision to the President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“My constituents, political associates and well-wishers across the country are by this statement informed of this latest decision, which also has the blessing and support of the overwhelming majority, hence supersedes any other interest, personal or otherwise.”