Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has chickened out of the 2023 Presidential race to secure his job after purchasing APC’s N100 million form for the Presidential Nomination and Expression of Interest Forms.
Ngige announced his withdrawal from the presidential race on Friday in Abuja through a statement.
President Muhammadu Buhari had held a valedictory service for members of his cabinet seeking political office on Friday and Ngige was present at the meeting.
The Minister, in the statement said on Tuesday, 19th April 2022, he publicly declared his interest to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, following the constitutional provision that precluded Buhari from seeking re-election to the office, as he would have completed his two terms in office by 29th May 2023.
“The declaration was made in my hometown, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.
“My declaration was sequel to pressure on me from my constituents, political associates, friends, and other well-meaning Nigerians, who felt I possess the necessary qualifications and experience for the job.
“Some of these supporters even taxed themselves to procure the Expression of Interest/ Nomination Forms of our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for me. The forms, however, are yet to be filled and submitted,” he said.
The Minister added that “Today, 13th May 2022, I had an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari as a follow up to the one I earlier had with him on May 11, 2022.
“Having also consulted widely with my family, constituents, supporters, and well-wishers, it is my pleasure to announce the withdrawal of my interest and earlier decision to contest the office of the President in the 2023 general elections.”
Ngige said as a result of this, he would not be participating in any of the internal party processes of the said election, starting with the primary.
He said he took this momentous decision firstly in the overall interest of the nation, in order to enable him to concentrate on his job, and assist the President and the government, to weather the difficult last lap, in the life of the administration and secondly for other family reasons.
“I have since communicated this decision to the President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“My constituents, political associates and well-wishers across the country are by this statement informed of this latest decision, which also has the blessing and support of the overwhelming majority, hence supersedes any other interest, personal or otherwise,” he said.