Abubakar Malami
Abubakar Malami

WITH the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and his Labour and Employment counterpart, Chris Ngige, backtracking on their earlier decisions to contest elective posts in next year’s election, their fate as members of the federal cabinet seems to be hanging in the balance.

Both men were present at the valedictory meeting for outgoing ministers conducted by President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday, which was followed by a group photograph of the president and the departing ministers at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Buhari thanked them for complying with his directive for members of the cabinet with ambitions to vie for elective posts to resign.

The president had bid them farewell, expressing confidence in their ability to govern the country just as other presidential aspirants if they win the election. Seven other ministers who had indicated their interest in the contesting elective positions were present at the valedictory session.

They include Godswill Akpabio (Niger Delta Affairs); Rotimi Amaechi (Transportation); Ogbonnaya Onu (Science, Technology and Innovation); Pauline Tallen (Women Affairs); Timipre Sylva (State, Petroleum Resources); Uche Ogar (State, Mines and Steel Development), and Tayo Alasoadura (State, Niger Delta Affairs).

Only Emeka Nwajiuba, the former Minister of State, Education, who was the first to resign, was absent at the meeting with apologies.

However, both Ngige and Malami have since made u-turns as they said in separate statements that they had withdrawn from the race for the presidential and Kebbi State gubernatorial tickets respectively, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).


They have now indicated their desire to serve out their terms as ministers and help the administration to achieve its objectives. Despite collecting expression of interest and nomination form to run for Senate, Tallen also announced after the valedictory meeting that she was yet to resign as she had up till today to do so.

It was not clear whether the ministers obeyed the president’s directive to resign and if at all Ngige and Malami submitted but withdrew their resignations letters. In their respective statements, Ngige and Malami did not disclose whether the president had agreed that they could return to their positions.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who briefed correspondents on the outcome of the valedictory session, had been asked whether there was a window of opportunity for those who resigned to return to office should they change their minds.

He responded: “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.”

However, the presidency is yet to say whether the two will retain their positions in the cabinet following their change of minds. Presidential spokesman, Adesina, declined comments when he was contacted on the matter.

Return to cabinet: Uncertainty over fate of Malami, Ngige



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