As suspected by many, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, has backed down from his presidential pursuit and quickly returned to his office as Minister, barely hours after President Muhammadu Buhari bade him and others farewell.
Ngige announced his change of heart in a statement he issued on Friday.
The statement titled, Withdrawa of my Presidential Aspiration, reads in full:
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 29th May 2023 . The declaration was made in my home town, 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 .
Today, 13th May , 2022, I had an audience with the President, Muhammadu Buhari as a follow up to the one I earlier had with him on 11th May, 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.
As a result of this, I will NOT be participating in any of the internal party processes of the said election, starting with the primary.
I took this momentous decision firstly in the overall interest of the nation, in order to enable me concentrate on my job, and assist the President and the Government, 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.
Thanks and God’s blessings.