The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), will replace the 10 members of his cabinet who have resigned from their positions to contest various electoral offices in next year’s general elections.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this to State House Correspondents shortly after the President held a valedictory meeting with nine of the concerned ministers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
According to Mohammed, Buhari said he would immediately fill the vacancies created by the exodus. He thanked the outgoing ministers for complying with the directive to quit based on their decision to seek elective political offices.
Buhari appreciated them for their services to the country, expressing confidence that giving the experience they have garnered in the services of government, they are equipped to run the states.
According to him, “I said the Minister will be replaced very soon without delay, he (The President) said so. I don’t know about reshuffling. He said the vacancies would be replaced very soon.
“You will recall that on Wednesday, Mr. President directed and I informed you that all ministers and other political appointees who aspire to contest for elective offices in 2023 general elections, should resign their current appointments.
“This morning, there was a valedictory service for 10 members of the Federal Council who have indicated their desire to aspire for higher offices. Nine of them were present, the 10th was absent with an apology.
“Mr. President used the occasion to thank the outgoing members of cabinet for their sacrifices and services. Mr. President also in addition to wishing them success in their endeavour, also expressed the confidence that given the expertise, the experience and what they must have garnered during their years in office, they, like other aspirants, are fully equipped to run the affairs of the state.
“Of course, Mr. President also admonished the remaining members of the Cabinet that the journey is still far. And they should all redouble their efforts, be more diligent and be more committed to the success of the administration. At the end of which the outgoing ministers had a group photograph with Mr president and also with the chief of staff and the secretary to the government of the federation.”
Asked if the 10 ministers have tendered their resignations, he said, “Well. Mr. President said some have and others are in the process of doing so. But he thanked everybody for their compliance.”
On whether the Ministers can return to their positions if they abruptly change their minds Mohammed noted that “Only Mr. President can say that. I’m just sticking to the speech of Mr. President and so I don’t want to speculate what can happen and what cannot happen. But Mr. President’s speech was very clear. He thanked the outgoing ministers for their sacrifice and contribution.”
He also noted that only the party can decide whether or not Former President Goodluck Jonathan has joined the All Progressives Congress.
The former ministers present at Friday’s meeting were Abubakar Malami (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice); Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta Affairs); Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation); Ogbonnaya Onu (Science, Technology and Innovation); Pauline Tallen (Women Affairs); Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment); Timipre Sylva (State, Petroleum Resources); Uche Ogar (State, Mines and Steel Development), and Tayo Alasoadura (State, Niger Delta Affairs).
Buhari had at the tail end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, ordered all members of his cabinet who are aspiring to various electoral offices to resign on or before Monday.
Also in a circular, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, officially written to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Godwin Emefiele, and heads of agencies such as the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, among others seeking to contest the 2023 general elections to resign.