RESIGNATION: Malami, Others’ Fate Hang In Balance, Says Lai Mohammed

RESIGNATION: Malami, Others’ Fate Hang In Balance, Says Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari will determine the fate of those Ministers who shelved their political ambitions. 

The Minister stated this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after the weekly virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC. 

The meeting was presided over by President Buhari at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday. Mohammed said he needed to confirm the position of things regarding the status of what he called “The returning cabinet members” on whether they have been properly reabsorbed or otherwise. 

The Minister said, “The other question about ministers returning or going, I think you need to give me more time so that I can tell you exactly what the situation is. 

”Right now, I need to cross check. I need to confirm again from Mr President what the situation is. You see the final decision on who is going; who’s coming back, who’s not going lies with Mr. President”, the Minister reiterated. 

Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami was physically present at the Council’s meeting yesterday, while the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva attended the meeting virtually from their various offices in Abuja. 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who also rescinded his decision to participate in the forthcoming party’s primaries of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was reported to be on an official visit to South Africa. 

Ngige is attending the International Labour Organisation, ILO, global conference on Child Labour in Durban. Recall that President Buhari on May 13 met with outgoing 10 ministers at a valedictory session in the Presidential Villa, Abuja. 

The Ministers are those of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige. 

Others are the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Tayo Alasoadura. 

The Minister of State, Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, who had earlier tendered his resignation, was not present at the valedictory session.  Malami has dropped his bid for the Kebbi State Government House next year and has opted to keep his job as the nation’s chief law officer. 

Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, also resigned on account of his 2023 presidential aspiration but withdrew the resignation to keep his job. 

The resignation derived from Buhari’s directive at the last Federal Executive Council meeting of Wednesday, May 11, 2022, asking Ministers and other political appointees who aspire to contest for elective offices in the 2023 general elections to resign their appointments. 

However, Lagos lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has faulted Malami who he described as former AGF in the eyes of the law and other former cabinet ministers who also renounced their 2023 aspiration to keep their job. Falana, faulting Ngige and Malami’s withdrawal of resignation, in a statement on behalf of Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, ASCAB, which he chairs, said: “In compliance with the directive, nine Ministers resigned their appointments. 

According to President Buhari on May 11 at the FEC meeting said, “I would like to take this opportunity to commend your decision and courage to contest for elective offices and your compliance with my directive. I also wish to thank you for your invaluable services to this nation through your contributions as Cabinet members. I wish you success in the upcoming elections and in your future endeavours,” he said.

President Buhari acknowledged that prior to some of them joining his cabinet; they had made their marks in other areas as governors, legislators, entrepreneurs and core professionals.Going by the above, one wonders how out going cabinet members after the valedictory section with Mr President some of the aspirants made comeback to be part of the weekly cabinet meeting at the Villa, a senior civil servant at the Ministry of Justice spotted at the court premises during the trial of the leader of a popular secession group in the Southern part of the country spoke angrily.

According to him, even though there are indices of a failing state, this state hasn’t completely failed. He wonders what these people were thinking when they indicated interest to contest, bought forms and had the guts to attend a valedictory section with Mr President and Senator Godswill Akpabio spoke on their behalf.

This automatically confirmed them as non-cabinet members. Also a lawyer at the court premises gave his candid opinion that President Buhari should do the needful, if he really loves to continue working for them by forwarding their names to the National Assembly for confirmation to fulfill the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When asked to shed more light on the claims of Malami, one of the Minister’s who hangs in the limbo, that he hasn’t served out his tenure.

Malami said, “I won’t resign from office, noting that he will end his tenure gloriously by May 2023”.He spoke last Thursday in Abuja during his keynote address at a conference organised by the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents..In  the same vein , Dr Chris Ngige has also denied resigning from office as minister.

He dismissed the claim by human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) that he withdrew his resignation letter after the valedictory session with President Buhari.In a statement issued by his Media Office in Abuja, Ngige said he neither wrote nor submitted a resignation letter.He said Falana was embarrassing the public with fake news.

However, Barr Agu O. Agu dismissed their claim saying that they can resign honourably without being ordered and the President ordered them to do so and commended only one cabinet member the Minister for Education State who resigned honorably.

“They were ordered to resign to pursue their dreams they initiated, and I learnt that some of them attended the Federal Executive Council meeting yesterday, this is interesting, we shall meet them in court”, Agu said.

He further advised Buhari to follow the due process if he desired them so much by presenting them before the Senate for confirmation in line with the law, after all they were part of the valedictory section he queried?

However, as journalists probed further, Lai Mohammed couldn’t give a tangible answer but said, “The other question about ministers returning or not going, I think you need to give me more time so that I can tell you exactly what the situation is,” he said.

“Right now, I need to cross-check. I need to confirm again from Mr president what the situation is. You see the final decision on who is going, who’s coming back, who’s not going lies with Mr president.

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