The minister of labour and employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has dared the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) saying he is not scared of suspension in a party in which he is a founding member.
He was responding to the threat issued by Oshiomhole, that if he does not inaugurate the board members of federal agencies and parastatal under his ministry, he will be suspended by the party.
The parastatals and agencies are the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Productivity Centre (NPC), and Michael Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS).
Oshiomhole had said, on Monday, that the APC under his leadership will not continue to tolerate ministers who abuse their office and disrespect President Muhammadu Buhari by refusing to carry out his directives.
He dared Ngige not to comply within the stipulated time and see if he will not be suspended and, thereafter, sacked from the federal cabinet.
Ngige, who had earlier faulted Oshiomhole, on the constitution and inauguration of the board members of federal agencies and parastatal under his ministry, said the APC national chairman was talking out of ignorance.
He said the board of NSITF was yet to be inaugurated because of reports of diversion of funds to the tune of N48 billion.
When asked when he was going to comply and if he was not afraid of suspension from the party, Ngige said: “How? In a party that we formed and brought them in? The man is talking out of ignorance. I’m not afraid of suspension.”
Ngige, had in his written response earlier, explained why the board of NSITF was yet to be inaugurated. He said: “Our National Chairman, I am in receipt of a letter referenced APC/NHDQ/ GENS/28/018/003 dated July 11, 2018, which was sent from your office and received by me on July 12, 2018. Ordinarily, I would not believe the letter was from you except for the barrage of media statements that came before I saw the letter. I read the contents of this letter with both amazement and utter disbelief.”
The minister said he had reconstituted three boards out of the four agencies and parastatals under his ministry, but has not been able to constitute the board of NSITF because of cases of financial malfeasance, which have put the agency under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Meanwhile, the minister of information and culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed said the rift between the two party men will be resolved soon.
Speaking after federal executive council meeting on Wednesday, Mohammed said: “What happened between the minister and chairman will be resolved. We don’t know who said what and until we know and the minister confirmed this statement credited to him, it’s difficult really to comment.
“I can assure you if there is any problem between the party chairman and any of our ministers, it will be resolved.”
The Sun/The Nation