Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said he has the right to vie for any elective position in 2023, including the office of the president and Anambra governorship in 2021 if he desired the position.
The minister stated this at the weekend after presenting cash and food items estimated at N15 million as COVID-19 palliatives to the poor and vulnerable persons in his Alor community in reaction to speculations that he was planning to contest the governorship position in Anambra.
Ngige, who is of the All Progressives Congress (APC), however, said the palliatives had nothing to do with his future political ambitions as beneficiaries included persons who were not of the APC.
“Whether APC or PDP, APGA, Accord, APA, PPP, once you are vulnerable, you get. We started with my town; but will reach out to my local government, then my senatorial district. We also intend to reach out to the church. If we don’t do it and COVID-19 kills all of us, what then will my foundation do?
“Yes, there have been speculations that I am eyeing the governorship of Anambra State. They have written about it a lot of media. I am a politician; they have the right to speculate on my next move. My next move is very vast. Elections will come in 2023, I have a right to vie for any position. I can vie for Senate or for President if I so wish. Election will be coming in Anambra State, latest November 2021 to elect a successor to Obiano, I am not disqualified. I have a right to say I can run,” Ngige said.
He however said, at present, he was focused on the challenges of his ministerial position more than the future political ambition.
“I am on national assignment. I am Minister of Labour and Employment of the federation and I am the chief conciliator of all labour disputes for now. And you can see that with the economy going into doldrums and shaking, the cynosure of all the effects of economic trouble is industrial disputes.”
He said the Senator Chris Ngige Foundation, which he founded targeted about 1,000 vulnerable households for the distribution of the palliatives and it plans to give out N5, 000 cash, a carton of noodles, rice, and carton of bottled water to beneficiaries.
On the first anniversary of President Buhari’s second tenure coming up in a few days, Ngige said the government had made tremendous progress in agriculture, infrastructural development and in the war against corruption.
Ngige said one-third of the span of Second Niger Bridge had been done, while many stretches of Enugu-Onitsha and Enugu-Port Harcourt highways had been done by the government.
He said the Akanu Ibiam International Airport which President Buhari approved for rehabilitation at the cost of N10 billion would be reopened after COVID-19 lockdown as laying of fibreglass and binder course for the regulated runway were ongoing.