•As Ngige pulls out of presidential race
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja held a valedictory session for outgoing members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), who are leaving the cabinet to pursue political ambitions saying that a significant number of them have been sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the Office of the President.
The President said, “I have no doubt that if the next President emerges from among former members of this cabinet, like any other aspirant, ample competence and outstanding service delivery would be on display. This will be part of our legacies to Nigerians.”
The President, who commended the departing public officers for serving the nation sacrificially, “with dignity and honour”, had at the last FEC meeting on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 directed that all Ministers and other political appointees who aspire to contest for elective offices in the 2023 General Elections should resign their current appointments.
According to the president, “I note that some have complied while others are in the process of doing so.
I would like to use this opportunity to commend your decision and courage to contest for elective offices and your compliance with my directive. I also wish to thank you for your invaluable services to this nation through your contributions as Cabinet members. I wish you success in the upcoming elections and in your future endeavours,” he said.
President Buhari acknowledged that prior to some of them joining his cabinet; they had made their marks in other areas as governors, legislators, entrepreneurs and core professionals.
He added that the experience and expertise they brought on board have significantly resulted in enormous development in various sectors and the accomplishment of government programmes.
Noting that the departure of some cabinet members has undoubtedly created a vacuum that should be filled, the President said appointments would be made without delay so that the business of governance will not suffer.
President Buhari urged the remaining members of the cabinet to show more diligence, resilience and commitment to serve Nigerians better, saying “the journey to the finish line is still very far ”.
“Like always, there will be challenges to address, programmes to deliver and policies to implement.
“You must therefore brace up for more work and target increased accomplishments.
“The determination to leave important legacies for Nigerians should never be compromised,” the President told members of his cabinet.
The following outgoing members of FEC were present at the valedictory session: ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
Others are the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Tayo Alasoadura. The Minister of State (Education), Emeka Nwajiuba, who had earlier tendered his resignation, was not present at the valedictory session.
Ngige pulls out of presidential race, says he wants to focus on his job
Meanwhile, the Minister of labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige who had earlier picked the N100m Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to contest the presidential ticket on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has reportedly announced his withdrawal from the 2023 presidential race.
The minister said he took the “momentous decision” in the interest of the nation and to enable him to concentrate on his job.
Announcing his resignation in a statement he personally signed, the minister said: “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 election.
“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.”
Ngige said he chose to pull out of the race to assist the president and the federal government to “weather the difficult last lap” of the administration. The minister also cited family reasons as part of the motivation to no longer pursue his ambition.
Ngige added that he has communicated his decision to the president and Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).
He said although he has received the expression of interest/nomination forms from his supporters, they are yet to be filled and submitted.