The attempt by some political appointees to have their cake and eat it may have finally backfired as President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday finally wielded the big stick by ordering every member of the Federal Executive Council who desires to contest elective offices in 2023 general elections to follow the example of Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba, Minister of State for Education, and resign on or before May 16, 2022.
Those affected are Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, who have joined the presidential race and bought nomination form, and Justice Minister and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami, who wants to run for the governorship of Kebbi State on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Others are the Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Uche Ogar, who is running for governorship position in Abia State, the Minister of Women Affairs, Paulline Tallen, who declared her ambition to contest for a senatorial seat in Plateau State.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made the disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari.
Only the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who he affirmed was an elected official was exempted from the marching order.
A source present at the FEC meeting told TheNiche that President Buhari gave the quit notice at the tail end of the Federal Executive Council deliberations.
He said the president wondered why it is only Nwajiuba who has had the presence of mind to resign from the cabinet after picking the APC presidential nomination form.
“I expect other members of this council seeking to be President to resign with immediate effect,” Buhari was quoted as saying.
Confirming the development to TheNiche on telephone, presidential media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu, said, “Yes, it is true that the President asked cabinet members interested in elective offices to follow the example of the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, who has resigned after buying the presidential nomination, to do same.”
Asked whether the order applies to all political appointees or only members of the cabinet, Shehu said, “The president spoke to his cabinet members. Is it going to apply to all political appointees? We may have to wait for a circular from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. I don’t want to be quoted on that but people are free to extrapolate.”
If the order applies to all political appointees, then the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, who has already gone to court to seek for a declaration that he is not bound to resign as CBN helmsman as demanded by many to participate in a primary election to select a presidential candidate, will have to choose between his presidential ambition and his present job.