…Sylva may drop out of presidential contest, says aide
Abuja—Barring a last-minute change of mind, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, will today submit his resignation letter to the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Punch newspaper reports.
It was gathered on Sunday that Amaechi remained resolute about his ambition to emerge as the President in the 2023 elections.
Other ministers who are expected to leave the cabinet today include the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Tayo Alasoadura, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen; and the Minister of State for Mines and Steel, Uche Ogar, who is seeking Abia State governorship ticket.
Sources, however, said the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, may shelve his presidential ambition, noting that he is weighing the opportunity cost of remaining as minister instead of contesting for the presidency which he is not sure of winning.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had last Wednesday directed all cabinet members who declared interest in vying for elective offices in the 2023 elections to turn in their resignation letters by May 16.
The directive was reinforced with a circular from the SGF ordering the concerned Federal Executive Council members and other appointees to leave office in compliance with the presidential order.
Amaechi later confirmed on Sunday evening in Kaduna where he met the party’s delegates that he will resign on Monday (today).
The elated Minister expressed his gratitude to the President for the opportunity given to serve the country.
He reiterated that the March 28 attack on the AK9 Abuja-Kaduna bound train by bandits would not have occurred if the Federal Executive Council had approved the surveillance contract to monitor the rail as requested by his ministry.
Following this, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu and the Niger Delta minister, Godswill Akpabio, submitted their resignation letters, joining the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, who was the first cabinet member to resign to focus on his presidential ambition.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, last Friday announced his withdrawal from the presidential race after paying N100mn for the All Progressives’ expression of interest and presidential nomination forms.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, also chickened out of the race for the Kebbi state governorship poll.
Sources close to the petroleum minister said he had huge investments in the oil sector which required nurturing, adding that resigning his cabinet position for the presidential contest may not be to his advantage.
An aide said, “The minister may drop out of the presidential contest like Ngige and Malami. He is weighing the pros and cons, especially in the light of his huge investments in the oil and gas sector which may not get the deserved attention and nurture if he jumps into the presidential race. He is weighing the options and would announce his decision on Monday but his body language indicates he may not resign.”
According to reports, out of the 28 persons that indicated an interest in contesting for the president under the APC, the forms purchased in the names of former President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and Ngige, were not submitted to the party as of Friday when the submission of the forms closed.