President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja bade farewell to 10 outgoing members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), affirming that a significant number of them have been sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the presidency.
Speaking during a valedictory session at the State House Abuja for appointees leaving the cabinet to pursue political ambitions, the President said: ”I have no doubt that if the next President emerges from among former members of this cabinet, like any other aspirant, ample competence and outstanding service delivery would be on display. This will be part of our legacies to Nigerians.”
The President, who commended the departing public officers for serving the nation sacrificially, ”with dignity and honour”, had at the last FEC meeting on Wednesday, May 11, 2022 directed that all Ministers and other political appointees who aspire to contest for elective offices in the 2023 General Elections should resign their current appointments.
”I note that some have complied while others are in the process of doing so. I would like to use 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.
Noting that the departure of some cabinet members has undoubtedly created a vacuum that should be filled, the President said appointments would be made without delay so that the business of governance will not suffer.
He urged the remaining members of the cabinet to show more diligence, resilience and commitment to serve Nigerians better, saying ‘‘the journey to the finish line is still very far”.
The outgoing members of FEC present at the valedictory session were: Ministers 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; Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Tayo Alasoadura.
The Minister of State (Education), Emeka Nwajiuba, who had earlier tendered his resignation, was not present at the valedictory session but sent his apologies.
Speaking on behalf of the outgoing ministers, Akpabio thanked the President for giving them the opportunity to serve and contribute their quota to nation building.
He described working with the President as a ‘‘fantastic and knowledgeable experience,’’ adding that as they step aside they will continue to be great disciples of Buhari.
”As we step aside from FEC, I want you to know that you have disciples in us. I want you to know that it is time for us to propagate Buharism.
”I want you to know that we are going to be working closely with the Minister of Information and Culture to take your message of transformation, love, patience, administrative sagacity to Nigerians, ” he said.
Addressing State House correspondents after the session, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, noted that some of the 10 Ministers had already tendered their resignation letters while others are in the process of doing so.
Asked about what the position was with Governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, who is also believed to be in the race for the presidency, Mohammed said: “I think he addressed you yesterday and he said you should wait for the news”.