Deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Murtala Yakubu Ajaka, has cautioned political appointees to either campaign publicly in support of the presidential candidate of the party, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, ahead of the 2023 general election or resign their appointments from the party-led administration immediately.
Specifically, Ajaka cautioned the ministers against hide and seek game over their support for Tinubu’s presidential bid.
Rivers State governor, Nysom Wike, had recently alleged that some appointees of APC were working for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
But the APC spokesman was reacting to comments made by minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, on a programme, Politics Today, on a national television on Friday, where he failed to publicly affirm his choice of presidential candidate between Tinubu and Peter Obi of Labour party (LP), when he was asked to do so by the presenter.
When asked about his preferred candidate between Tinubu and Obi Ngige said such a question is difficult to answer because both Tinubu and Peter Obi are his friends.
“My choice will be in the ballot box, on the day of ballot I will make my choice. I won’t tell Nigerians what I will do secretly…”
Apparently disconcerted by Ngige’s comments made by Ngige, the APC deputy spokesperson in a statement on Saturday described such stance by a sitting minister in a government of the ruling party as “uncalled for.”
Noting that Ngige’s comments on a national TV programme is anti-party activity, Ajaka said, “Presidential primary election had long ended and the party had settled for the choice of Senator Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, hence all the party leaders should put their ambitions behind them for now to deliver the party’s presidential ticket.
“It is expected of a serving Minister in an APC government to be a trusted Apostle of Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency in 2023, who along other party leaders laboured to ensure the enthroment of the same government in 2015 which they are now serving in.
“Chief Ngige and other APC appointees, especially in the federal cabinet should not forget in a hurry that they are holding onto party’s mandate, hence the need to protect it with whatever it requires, but if they can no longer protect the interest of the APC in public and that of our presidential candidate (Tinubu), I think the honourable thing to do is to step aside from the government formed by the APC.”
Ajaka further warned that if such behaviour is allowed to continue among the appointees and party leaders, it is capable of generating bad blood among APC rank and file.
Accordingly, he appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to call the cabinet members to order and obtain their commitments to deliver APC and its candidate in 2023.
“With this type of public comment from a sitting minister in a ruling party who cannot declare on national television his choice of presidential candidate, how on earth is the party expected to fare in the forthcoming presidential election?” Ajaka queried.