By Emmanuel Nduka
The Minister of State for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami have both withdrawn from their political ambitions ahead of 2023 to keep their current jobs.
While Ngige pulled out of the Presidential race, Malami gave up on contesting for Governor of Kebbi State.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, Ngige said his declaration in Anambra State three weeks ago which was transmitted live on national TVs, was as a result of pressures from friends, supporters and allies, given that he has the qualifications to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
He disclosed that his supporters had purchased the nomination form for him, which he was, however, yet to fill and submit.
“On Tuesday, 19th April 2022, I publicly declared my interest to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, following the constitutional provision that precludes our amiable incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari from seeking re-election to the office, as he would have completed his two terms in office by 29thMay 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 possessed the necessary qualifications and experience for the job,” his statement said.
“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,” he added.
In a related development, Malami who had in April declared interest in the Kebbi State governorship race, had distributed over 200 exotic vehicles to party members ahead of the governorship primary in the state.
Several sources close to the minister said he withdrew from the race over fear that he may not get the ticket, SaharaReorters wrote.
There has been a cold political war between the incumbent governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu and the political arrowhead of Kebbi, Senator Adamu Alieru over who succeeds the former.
While Bagudu, who chairs the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), is rooting for Malami as his successor, Aliero, a two-term Governor of the state, has Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi as his preferred candidate for the APC governorship ticket.
Aliero’s camp has Bala Sani Kangiwa, who was removed during the last state congress of the party as their chairman, while the camp of the governor has Abubakar Kana Zuru as chairman.
To this end, two secretariats of the APC now exist in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital.
Fearing he may not get the ticket under the current circumstances, Malami was said to have changed his plan and pulled out of the governorship race.
“He (Malami) actually pulled out of the race because he knows he can’t win without being the Attorney General,” a source told SaharaReporters.