The Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, has asked the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, and other appointees to campaign openly for the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu or resign their appointments.
On Friday, October 7, 2022, Ngige while featuring on Politics Today, a programme on Channels Television said he will not disclose his preferred presidential candidate in the 2023 elections.
When asked whether he would endorse Bola Tinubu, his party’s presidential candidate, or back Peter Obi, the flagbearer of the Labour Party, Ngige described the question as “difficult”.
“I have told you that I’m not active in politics,” he said.
“I’m not active in politics for now because I am facing a national assignment.
“Both of them are my friends. My choice will be in the ballot box. Whether conscience or no conscience, on that day in February, I’ll have one vote.”
The minister added that “it is a secret ballot, and I shouldn’t tell Nigerians what I would do secretly”.
“Both men and their track records are good, but you must go into the nitty-gritty of your analysis,” he said.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu came to Lagos when there was nothing. I lived in Lagos so I can tell you. He did what he was supposed to do and reformed the financial system, and built a solid foundation and roadmap for his successors.”
Ngige said Obi built on the foundation he laid as governor of Anambra state.
“For the first tenure, he did not do infrastructure, but then he realised that it was a grievous mistake,” he said.
When asked to rate whether Tinubu performed better than Obi, the minister declined.
Obi was the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the 2003 Anambra governorship election, but he lost to Ngige who was the PDP candidate.
Obi had challenged the outcome of the polls and after nearly three years of litigation, Ngige’s victory was overturned by the court of appeal on March 15, 2006.
However, reacting to the comments made by Ngige, in a statement on Saturday, October 8, 2022, the APC deputy spokesman said what the minister did was “anti-party.”
He said, “It is expected of a serving Minister in an APC government to be a trusted apostle of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency in 2023, who along other party leaders laboured to ensure the enthroment of the same government in 2015 which they are now serving in.
“Chief Ngige and other APC appointees, especially in the federal cabinet should not forget in a hurry that they are holding onto party’s mandate, hence the need to protect it with whatever it requires, but if they can no longer protect the interest of the APC in public and that of our presidential candidate (Tinubu), I think the honourable thing to do is to step aside from the government formed by the APC.”
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