From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Aidoghie Paulinus and Fred Ezeh, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered every member of the Federal Executive Council who has ambition to contest elective offices to resign on or before Monday, May 16.
Those affected are ministers of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi; Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba; Petroleum Timipreye Sylva who have joined the presidential race on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Others are Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who is seeking to contest governorship position in Kebbi State, Minister of State, Mines and Steel, Uche Ogar, who is running for governorship position in Abia State, and the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulline Tallen, who declared her ambition to contest the senatorial seat in Plateau State.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of Federal Executive Council, presided over by President Buhari.
Mohammed said: “The mandate I have from the president is to announce that all members of the Federal Executive Council contesting elective office must resign their ministerial cabinet appointments on or before Monday, May 16, 2022.”
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.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has commended Nwajuiba for tendering his resignation ahead of the Federal Executive Council meeting’s directive at the State House, Abuja.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, made the disclosure in an interview granted Hausa service reporters in the Presidential Villa.
“He told them to follow the example of Nwajuba who purchased form and tendered his resignation. The president said anybody who bought form to contest any elective position, excluding the vice president, should immediately resign and face his ambition. That is the directive he gave.
“First of all, anyone aspiring for the presidency should not remain in position. What I want people to understand is that whether there is law or no law, the president is the one who appoints and he has power to remove any appointee. He has asked them to immediately resign so we are waiting to see what they will do.”
He added that a circular will soon be issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, to explain the category of political appointees to be affected by the presidential directive.
“I will advise that you wait for the circular that would be issued by the secretary to the government. The circular will explain in details those affected,” Shehu said.
Mohammed, had earlier told State House Correspondents that President Buhari told the ministers to resign on or before Monday, May 16.
However, Daily Sun learnt that Nwajiuba resigned few hours after he picked the APC presidential nomination form on April 27, 2022.
One of his close aides confirmed that the minister resigned on April 28, few hours after he accepted to contest.
“He left the announcement for the president to do as protocol demands. The president actually announced resignation today (Wednesday) at FEC before giving the order.”
Nwajiuba had during an event to present him with the nomination and expression of interest forms of the APC for the 2023 presidential election, in Abuja, said he would not resign his position until 30 days to the election.
He said Section 82 of the Electoral Act is not binding on him, rather he was following the guidelines as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution.
He made reference to Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, whom, he said, resigned his position as Minister of Solid Minerals four years ago after he had won the ticket of APC at the primary elections before he informed the president and members of the Federal Executive Council that he was leaving for Ekiti State.
“I am not bothered by the call by some people for me to resign my position as minister, having indicated interest in the 2023 presidential election. I am following what the constitution says which is the superior law of the land.”
Similarly, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and his Science and Tecnology counterpart, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu have resigned their appointment as a result of his presidential ambition.
Akpabio’s media aide, Jackson Udom, in a statement titled “2023: Who is Afraid of Akpabio?” he, however, did not disclose the date his principal tendered his resignation letter. The statement was in response to reports that Akpabio had withdrawn from the 2023 presidential race.
“This is a joke carried too far. This is certainly the handiwork of those who are scared of contesting against Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“Senator Akpabio has resigned his appointment as Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry and will soon submit his nomination form at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, in line with his party’s guidelines,” Udom said.
Udom further advised those behind the lies and falsehood to learn to live with the reality that Akpabio is fully in the race, not only for the APC ticket but to emerge the next democratically elected president.