He said the APC will not continue to tolerate ministers who abuse their office and disrespect President Muhammadu Buhari by refusing to carry out his directives.
Juliana Taiwo- Obalonye, Abuja
The Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has told the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, that if he does not inaugurate the board members of federal agencies and parastatal under his ministry, he will be suspended by the party.
He said the APC, under his leadership, will not continue to tolerate ministers who abuse their office and disrespect President Muhammadu Buhari by refusing to carry out his directives.
He dared Ngige not to comply within the stipulated time and see if he will not be suspended and, thereafter, sacked from the federal cabinet. Ngige had faulted Oshiomhole, on the constitution and inauguration of the board members of federal agencies and parastatal under his ministry.
The APC chairman, in a letter, had given the labour minister one week within which to constitute the board of the parastatals and agencies under his ministry.
The parastatals and agencies are the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Productivity Centre (NPC), and Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS).
But, Ngige, in his reply, said he will not constitute the Board of NSITF within the one week ultimatum given by Oshiuomhole. He expressed disbelief that such a letter could emanate from the APC chairman. He said: “Our National Chairman, I am in receipt of a letter referenced APC/NHDQ/ GENS/28/018/003 dated July 11, 2018, which was sent from your office and received by me on July 12, 2018. Ordi- narily, I would not believe the letter was from you except for the barrage of media statements that came before I saw the letter. I read the contents of this letter with both amazement and utter disbelief.”
The minister said he had reconstituted three boards out of the four agencies and parastatals under his ministry, but has not been able to constitute the board of NSITF because of cases of financial malfeasance, which have put the agency under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
Reacting to Ngige’s response to his direction, Oshiomhole told State House Correspondents after a meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, that rebels are not be tolerated, either in a party or in a democratic government.
He said: “If the minister refuses we will suspend him from the party. You know we must return to internal discipline. For me it is the height of mischief for any minister, you cannot purport to be honourable minister and you act dishonourably and nobody is greater than the party. And if the President condones disrespect for his office, I will not condone disrespect for the party. And, when we expel the minister, we will prevail on the president that he can’t keep in his cabinet people who have neither respect for his own decisions nor have respect for the party, without which they would not have been ministers. There are no independent candidates in our system, nobody, I emphasis, no minister is above the party, and they have taken undue advantage of the president’s fatherly disposition.
“Now, it is the same green pen that made them ministers that appointed these boards that they are refusing to swear in. And, it is absolutely illegal for a minister, in a democracy, to prey the powers of the board because the laws establishing those institutions are clear, that the boards have procedures to follow. So, when a minister sits in his office to appropriate the powers of the board in a democracy, not in a dictatorship, award contract that didn’t go through boards, those are clearly abuse of office for which they are liable.
“I am convinced that what they are doing is not with the endorsement of Mr. President. Over the period, they have tried to drop the president’s name, but, I tell them it is the same authority that appointed these people.
“So, we are informing them that it is either they comply with the president’s instructions or they comply with the party’s position or they go and administer outside the government.
“We have respect for ministers, but, only to the extent that they recognise that they are products of a political party, and we are not negotiating that. If they did that in the past, under our leadership, we will not tolerate it. They either comply or we will expel them from the party. When we expel them, we will find out how a government can keep a rebel in the cabinet. There is no question about that.”
Oshiomhole has also reacted to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) statement that he is licking his vomit after the ‘no loss of sleep’ comment on the Reformed APC faction.
He told State House Correspondents, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, “You have seen me, do I look like I’m losing sleep?”
Oshiomhole said he cannot lose sleep over the breakaway faction of the APC.
Reacting to the comment, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP spokesman, said Oshiomhole dismissed R-APC, yet, went ahead to pay a nocturnal visit to Buba Galadima, its chairman, “in what appeared a fence-mending gesture.”
Oshiomhole, after another round of meeting with Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari said, “No, I am not losing sleep. I am sleeping very well. I still maintain that I don’t see any man of honour, who, with his eyes open, left PDP on the account of their gross mismanagement, abuse of the treasury and all of the crime that the PDP committed, I don’t see them, whatever their irritations, that cannot be a justifications to return a house that all we need to do is to play back their own tape about what PDP represents and why they left.
“I still hold the view that you can’t vomit in the morning and covert it to lunch in the afternoon if you have honour. And that position still remains the same.
“Number two is that yes, I have made this point clear that we can distinguish the mercenaries from those who genuinely have complains. Our business as party leaders is to try and manage, listen and find solutions to those who have verifiable complains…”