Buhari Admonishes Ministers To Sit up, Ngige Abandons Presidential Ambition

By Lateef Adegbite

President Muhammadu Buhari, has admonished members of the cabinet who are not nursing political ambition ‘’to be more diligent and committed to the success of the Administration’’ or be sacked. The Katsina born Nigerian President who may have put on his military garb , a s a retired Army General, may have talked  tough to the ministers because he has only about thirteen months remaining for the expiration of his Administration that would usher in a new President who would emerge   in the forthcoming 2023, general elections.

Recall that nine ministers nursing Presidential, governorship ambition and other elective offices were asked to resign on Wednesday, May 11, 2023, after the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting by  the Katsina state born Nigerian President which was further authenticated by Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation in a circular which was sent to all the affected ministers.

The affected ministers included Rotimi Amaechi, a former nor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation, Gdswell Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom state minister of Niger Delta, Emeka Nwajiuba, minister of state, Education, Teipre Sylva, minister of State, Petroleum Resources, ad Chris Ngige , a former governor of Anambra state , and minister of Labour and Productivity including Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science,  Technology and Innovation.

The six ministers were aid to have paid the All Progressive Congress non- refundable deposit of N100 million to purchase the party Expression of Interest form pegged at  N30 million and nomination of N70million, bringing the total of the two forms to N100milion to qualify to contest the 023 Presidential election on the ticket of the ruling APC.

Others were  Abubakar Malami, minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, and  Uche Oga, minister of State, Mines and Steel, who are vying for governorship position of Kebbi and Abia respectively including Paullen Tallen, a former Deputy governor of Plateau state gunning for a senatorial Seat in the state.  Malami and Oga, had NN50 million each to purchase the governorship nomination forms in their respective states but Tallen paid N20 million to purchase the Senatorial nomination form.

The Presidential directive was later extended to like Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who is Presidential ambition, Bashir Jamoh, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety, NIMASA, and other Political appointees including Ambassadors, nursing political ambition to resign.

While meeting the political ambitious ministers who were leaving the cabinet on Friday, May 13, 2022, he had ‘’thanked them for their service to the nation and wished the best in their new endeavour’’ But Nigige, the minister of Labour and Employment ,  who  critics had described as a failed minister a he could not resolve the face- off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the  government  since February,14, 2022, may have shocked Nigerians when he disclosed that he has ‘’withdrawn from the Presidential race’’   on Friday, May 13, 2022, ‘’to keep  his ministerial job’’ . He was emphatic: I have decided not to continue with my Presidential race  ‘’to enable me to concentrate  on my ministerial job  and assist  the Buhari Administration , especially  in this difficult last lap’’.

Mohammed: Says All The P Ministers Nursing Political Ambition Are Leaving

  But Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture had said that all ‘’the nine ministers are leaving the cabinet’’, noting that ‘’some of them have already tendered their resignation letter while others are in the process of doing so’’. Recall that the Nigerian President had said the political ambitious ministers have between Wednesday, May 11, 2022 and Monday 16, 2022, to submit their resignation letter or be fired.

The former Anambra state governor, may have made Nigerians to  believe  that though, he had paid the N100milion  to purchase the APC, Presidential  nomination forms,  he had yet ‘’to fill and submit  the Expression of Interest  and Presidential nomination forms  of the APC, bought by him to the President’’, which gives opportunity to go back to his job.

There are indications that the Nigerian President may accept him back to the cabinet and others who may want to withdraw from the Presidential or governorship race, and other elective offices fueling speculations making the rounds that he may have had had private discussion with some of the political ambitious minis ters who may have signified their intention to withdraw from the Presidential race to return to the  cabinet and he gave them the nod to do so. This may have encouraged to Nigige, the minister of Labour and Employment to reapply for the job he was asked to resign within five days.

Ngige: Withdraws From The APC Presidential race, Optimistic Of Returning Back To The Cabinet

 ‘’I have since communicated this decision to return back to my ministerial Seat to the President and Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation’’, he had said.

The argument in political circles was that if the Nigeria President accepts back to the  cabinet  the ministers and other political  appointees , nursing political ambitions he had earlier asked to resign, he would have confirmed the news  making the rounds that the Authorities were behind the shadowy groups that had  purchased the APC Presidential nomination forms for some of the  25 Presidential aspirants, in which the party had realised N2.5 billion, N2.4 billion from  the 48 governorship aspirants,  and NN4.8 billion from the 1,241 Senatorial aspirants, that meaning that any aspirant  who decides  to withdraw from the race and return to the cabinet  have nothing to lose.

Note that the shadowy group had bought the presidential form for former President Goodluck Jonathan and Akinwumi Adesina, a former minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, during Jonathan Administration, and now President, African development Bank,         ADB, without their consent and which was vehemently rejected by them.

 Even Godwin Emefiele , Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, governor,  had Tweeted when  news broke out that he had  purchased the APC , Presidential nomination form  that he was not aware of it and had rejected it  but was allegedly forced to accept it  as he headed to a Federal High Court in Abuja, to prevent the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, headed by Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor , and Malami, the minister of Justice, who  was also affected by the Presidential directive to resign  for nursing political ambition,  from preventing him to contest the 2023, general elections.

 Nigerians are watching Buhari to see if he should reconsider Ngige to return to the Cabinet, which would pave the way for Amaechi,  the former minister of Transportation  who had supervised  the Chinese, multi-billion dollar dual carriage railway line project and extension of the rail line to Mahradi, Republic of Niger, when the south east, south -south and north central geo-political regions have not been connected to the Asian country of China financed rail project. This may also open the door for Emefiele, the CBN, governor to return to his Seat and Jamoh, Director General of NIMASA, to return to his office.

 Note that the party had realised about N19 billion from the sale of  the Presidential, governorship and  elective offices at the state and Federal levels, an indications the party Leadership was after raising money to prosecute the 2023, general elections. ‘’We do not want to beg for funds to run the forth coming general elections’’,  Senator Abdullahi Aamu, a former  governor of Nasarawa state and  National Chairman of th APC had aid.

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