14 July 2013

Nigeria: Governorship Race - Seven Ministers May Quit Jonathan's Cabinet

Seven ministers with governorship ambition may soon quit the President Goodluck Jonathan administration to pursue their dreams.

The ministers are the minister of state for education, Nyesom Wike, Rivers information minister, Labaran Maku (Nasarawa); Niger Delta Affairs minister, Godsday Orubebe (who is already pitted against elder statesman, Edwin Clark) in Delta; aviation minister, Adaeze Stella Oduah (Anambra); police affairs minister, Caleb Olubolade (Ekiti); Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, Bala Mohammed (Bauchi) and his education counterpart, Professor Ruqqayat Rufai (Jigawa).

LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt that the number of ministers expected to resign may be higher as more are believed to be testing the waters before they would come out to indicate their interest.

It was also gathered that President Jonathan has given the affected ministers October deadline to resign their appointments.

The president's directive is said to have been informed by growing allegations against the ministers that they were using their offices and also hiding under his cover to pursue their ambition.

LEADERSHIP Sunday learnt President Jonathan has given the affected ministers a notice to quit his administration on or before October this year.

An impeccable source told our correspondent that the delay in the much-awaited cabinet reshuffle was due to the president's awareness that some of the ministers were nursing ambitions to govern their states in 2015.

"There has to be a once and for all repackaging if at all the president needs to change his team; but as it is, reshuffling the cabinet ahead of October would create a vacuum to be filled again after October", the source said.

But as this disclosure came, the presidency has clarified that President Jonathan did not need to pressure any minister to quit since the laws guiding electoral matters were clear enough to guide the aspirants

In spite of this, the source said President Jonathan has lately been inundated with reports of some underhand dealings without his knowledge in some of the affected states.

The source who linked the lingering political crisis in Rivers State to the alleged governorship ambition of Wike, further disclosed that there are several other suppressed frictions in some states of the federation that "are merely being managed".

"From all indications, some ministers with ambition to govern their respective states usually drop the president's name in most things they do just to foster their ambition. In most cases, they deliberately misinform stakeholders within the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) knowing fully-well that such people have little or no access to either the national leadership of the party or even the presidency to clarify issues.

"What we are seeing in Rivers State is not new in politics; we all know that the state governor may have been totally disrespectful to the president, we all detest it, but the crisis would not have gotten to this level if not for the dramatic involvement of Wike because he wants to run as governor.

"That is why Mr. President has humbly told those with such ambition to quit either in October or even before and pursue their dream." All the same, the presidency said it had no knowledge of such decision by the president that ministers with governorship ambition should quit in October.

Special adviser to the president on political matters, Barrister Ali Ahmed Gulak, told LEADERHIP Sunday that rather than the president doing so, the laws governing time limits for affected officials shall suffice.

"It is not a thing we should worry about because it is not true. The president does not need to ask people to start to quit when in actual fact we all know the laws guiding our electoral environment.

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