Ngige to consult with President for clarification
Buhari orders ministers with political ambition to resign
Emefiele, other appointees to know fate soon
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—Three minister tendered their resignations, yesterday, following the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari on members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, seeking electoral positions to resign.
Those who dropped their resignation letters at press time, last night, include the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Emeka Ngige, however, said he would consult with the President to take advantage of the window offered by the President for those concerned, to seek clarification on the matter.
The President had, at yesterday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, ordered every member of the council, who had ambition to contest elective offices in the 2023 general elections to resign, on or before May 16, 2022.
Those affected are ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; Justice and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, who have all joined the presidential race on the platform of All Progressive Congress, APC.
Others are the Minister of State, Mines and Steel, Uche Ogar, who is running for the governorship position in Abia State; the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulline Tallen, who declared her ambition to contest for a senatorial seat in Plateau State.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this, while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting, presided over by President Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said he did not have the mandate to talk on the fate of other political appointees, who were not members of the cabinet.
Mohammed said: “The mandate I have from the President is to announce that all members of the Federal Executive Council contesting for elective office must resign their ministerial appointments, on or before Monday, May 16, 2022.”
Asked if the directive affected the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who is vying for the post of President, the Information Minister said “the Vice President was elected, he was not appointed.”
On the fate of other political appointees like the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who might also be running for the post of President, Mohammed said the directive might be extended to non-cabinet members.
“As of this moment, the mandate I have is for members of the Federal Executive Council. Subsequently, it might affect other political appointees but that will be made known.
”If there is going to be any amendment or any inclusion, you will be informed in due course,” he stressed.
I’ll still consult Buhari, my constituents —Ngige
But reacting to the president’s order yesterday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said he was not in a hurry to resign from his appointment as he had to consult with the President and his constituents before tendering any resignation letter.
Ngige said the President had given a window for those that needed clarifications on his pronouncement to meet him, adding that he would meet the President for clarifications.
Besides, he said the ministerial position he occupied, he was holding it in trust for the government and his state.
The minister said he would consult them before taking any decision.
Asked to react to the President’s directive for those holding any political ambition to resign before May 16, the Minister said: “I have no reaction for now because the President said if anyone wants clarifications, the person should meet him.
” So I have to consult him and consult my constituents, Anambra State, because I am holding the office for the government and my constituents.”
Vanguard gathered yesterday that based on the window given the ministers by President to consult him before eventually tendering their resignations, some of them might opt out of the presidential race.
”Some of the ministers may drop their presidential ambition, especially as the President has given offered them the window to seek further clarification from him on the resignation order.
”Aside from the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Uwajiuba, who has resigned, others affected by the presidential order have yet to do so, even though they have till Monday to do that,” a souce told Vanguard last night.
On his part, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, minister of state for education, resigned his position.
His resignation was said to have been announced at yesterday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Nwajiuba, it was learned, had announced his intention to run for president in the 2023 general election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, on April 27.
According to a source in the ministry, Nwajiuba had tendered his resignation since April 28 after announcing his intention to contest the presidency.
“He actually resigned effective April 28th after accepting to run. The president approved his resignation upon resumption from the Eid break on May 3rd and then travelled out.
“Nwajiuba left the announcement for the president to do as protocol demands. The president announced that resignation today at FEC before giving the order.”
Contacted yesterday, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said he had no comments to make.
Efforts made to reached other affected ministers proved abortive as they neither picked telephone calls nor replied text messages.
Confirming this development Mr. Paul Odili, SA to the former Minister of State Education, Nwajiuba, said: “The Honourable Minister, on accepting the nomination form on the 27 th of April bought for him by his supporters led by an umbrella group, Project Nigeria wrote the President on the 28 th informing him that having accepted the nomination by his supporters to contest the office of the presidency on the party’s platform that he would like to disengage from office to enable him concentrate on his campaign and to avoid any conflict of interest.
I can tell you Mr. President immediately accepted his letter of resignation.”
Ogbonnaya Onu resigns
Similarly, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, also resigned yesterday, following the President’s order.
Sources within the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Ministry of Science and technology said: “The minister was at the office of the SGF to drop his resignation letter. That was expected, seeing that the president asked that they all should resign.”
Onu had on May 6, 2022, declared for the presidency under the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has also resigned his appointment, following the President’s order.
His media aide, Jackson Udom, who confirmed this last night, said the minister had submitted his resignation letter.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pullen Tallen, is yet to submit her resignation letter because she is out of the country.