President Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday that any of the ministers who resigned their appointment to vie for a higher office was sufficiently equipped to succeed him as the next president.
The president stated this at a valedictory service held for nine exiting cabinet ministers at the State House, Abuja
The ministers resigned their appointments to pursue their political ambition.
Those who resigned were the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami; the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, and minister of state, Niger Delta Affairs, Tayo Alasoadura.
Others were the ministers of science, technology and innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; women affairs, Pauline Tallen; state, petroleum resources, Timipre Sylva; state, mines and steel development, Uche Ogar, and state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba.
Though the minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige attended the valedictory session, he issued a formal statement after the event to say that he had not resigned because he had pulled out of the presidential race and notified the president accordingly.
Speaking at the session, Buhari said many of the outgoing members of his cabinet were eminently qualified to take over from him on May 29, 2023.
“I am happy to note that a significant number of cabinet members have become sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the Office of the President. This shows the impact of the experience gathered while serving as members of the federal executive council.
”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.”
He commended them for complying with his May 11 directive that all ministers and other political appointees who aspire to contest for elective offices in the 2023 general election 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.”
Speaking on behalf of the outgoing ministers, Akpabio, expressed gratitude to the president for giving them the opportunity to serve and contribute their quota to nation building.
“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, and administrative sagacity to Nigerians.
“May one of us succeed you in order to continue the good legacies you have laid on ground. We have seen and know your vision. We know where you want the country to be,” he said.
Later at a media briefing, the minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed said the president had promised to replace the nine ministers immediately
“The ministers 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 aspiring 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 and 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, were 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 that 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.”