The Nigeria Government has called for support of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, said this at the ongoing 110th session of the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday in Abuja.
Ngige was responding to the report of the Director-General of the ILO, Mr Guy Ryder.
Ngige, represented by Daju Kachollom, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said the support was imperative due to the current state of growing inequality gap.
“We consider that the achievement of the SDGs by 2030 is at a great risk.
“If the goal of “not leaving any one behind” is ever to be realized, urgent effort, support and contribution will be required by all in a renewed commitment to multilateralism and international cooperation,’’ he said.
He said the report of the Director-General on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) – Crisis, structural transformation and the Future of Work was appropriate for the debate.
He said that this was in view of the multiple implications of current global challenges.
He said the analysis of the character and challenges of the labour markets index of the 46 LDCs raise some concerns.
According to him, this is especially in the light of the impact and slow recovery progress of many economies after the pandemic.
“ The volume of job losses and the established link between social justice and global peace should provoke honest debate at this conference.
“The wave of insecurity, terrorism, food scarcity, rising cost of energy, impact of COVID-19, among others should challenge our common humanity and shared international relations.
“These are consummate recipes for global socio-economic disruption and widening inequality,’’ he said.
The minister added that the ripple effect of the deteriorating situation in these 45 LDCs was capable of eroding the gains of the developing and developed economies.
“Our response should go beyond statistics and rhetoric to plans which will stimulate economic activities to generate decent jobs for the teeming unemployed youths who yearn for dignified life,’’he said.
According to Ngige, Nigeria has over the years upheld the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda as well as the Strategic Objectives of the ILO.
“This is by implementing different transformative Agenda and Visions to structurally transform and improve its economic productive capacities and outputs.
“This ultimately, is a bit to move the country on the path of sustainable development and economic growth,’’Ngige said.
He noted that currently the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP) of 2017 to 2020 is being rolled into National Development Plan 2021-2025.
He said that this takes into cognisance achievements from preceding activities, programmes and projects with well defined key performance indicators as guide.
“We have entrepreneurial programmes and projects in the agricultural sector through various loan schemes that have created volumes of decent jobs.
“We also focused on several intervention programmes on social assistance and social protection to ensure the non-erosion of the pre-COVID-19 gains on Social Protection Floors.
“These were to cushion the effect of the emerging global challenges listed in the D-G’s report,’’ he said.
He said if LDCs were to proceed on the legitimate path of structural transformation, it would involve reengineering their productive capacity, recalibrating their institutional arrangement and reviewing their governance structure to transit to the league of developing countries.
Ngige added that, it would require increasing support and projects by international communities and multinational institutions (ILO inclusive) to assist the LDCs in the six key focus areas listed in paragraph 25 of the report.
He said this is in addition to adhering to the principles of country ownership emphasised in the Doha Programme of Action to transition.
“Unfortunately though, the ambitious centenary declaration of 2019 and the 2021 Global Call to Action for a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis have no direct link to the LDCs.
“We request a review and reiterate our previous call for the need to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines reach the remotest part of the world by granting patent rights for production of vaccines to regions.
“Sadly too, the LDCs are mostly the regular members on the Committee of Experts on the Application of Standards.
“We advocate a review of this practice especially as it relates to the LDCs economic performance and development,’’ he added.(www.nanews.ng)
The Federal Government says it cannot increase emoluments or downsize workers without productivity measurement. The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige, said this on Tuesday in Abuja while declaring open the third National Productivity Summit in Abuja, organised by the National Productivity Centre (NPC). The theme of the two-day Summit is: “Mobilising and Managing Resources for Higher Productivity, Sustainable Growth and Development’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the two-day summit is designed to create a national discourse, where productivity practitioners and intellectuals can brainstorm on pressing productivity-related issues.
The specific objective of the summit is to examine the level of productivity in the economy and challenges facing key sectors of the Nigerian Economy and propagate the culture of productivity. Ngige said that Nigeria could not make progress without productivity measurement in the various sectors of the national economy, including the public service, banking, business and agriculture. The minister, who advocated for the propagation of the culture of productivity, also stressed the need for Nigeria to measure its productivity as a country. According to him, productivity as the efficient and effective management of available resources, remains a key factor that enables societies to generate wealth and sustain development. “We must propagate the culture of productivity. Some people are suggesting that we should downsize because a lot of people are at work. You cannot do that without measuring productivity. “Same goes with emoluments. Some people work in ministries while others work in parastatals like NNPC and FIRS. “They are not equally paid. The huge disparity in wages does not give cheers. How we can bridge the gap in wages is important,” he said. Ngige noted that the disparity in wages caused rebellions by labour unions, culminating in incessant industrial disputes. He described the theme of the summit, “Managing Resources for Higher Productivity, Sustainable Growth and Development,” as very apt, as Nigeria is in dire straits because it did not diversify its economy to enhance productivity. “Nigeria is blessed with enormous human and natural resources and therefore, has the potential to be a major economic power. “Yet, having an abundance of these resources does not guarantee development, except they are properly harnessed, mobilized and maximised. “The aim is not only to secure new and additional resources but also to make better use of existing ones. “Mobilising domestic resources for productive investment is a long-standing challenge for most developing countries like ours. Weak demand, rising debt and volatile capital flows have left many economies. “However, there are compelling reasons why more emphasis should be given to domestic resource mobilisation. It is vital to increase productivity, employment and revenue generation, wealth creation and poverty reduction,” he said. Ngige noted that through efficient and effective mobilisation and management of resources, countries accelerated their economic growth by raising and spending their own funds for public goods and essential services like schools, hospitals, clean water, electricity and roads. He added that for a country to attain sustainable development, “it is critical to identify, mobilise and manage these resource,” he said. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms Kachollom Daju, urged the participants to seek for areas to be more productive to the country, and work hard towards a better Nigeria and future. Also speaking, the Director-General, National Productivity Centre, Dr Kashim Akor, called for the collective effort of critical stakeholders in the productivity movement. Akor also called on all Nigerians to fashion out specific solutions to the challenges militating against productivity improvement, growth and development in the country. He noted that in the effort to promote productivity, the Centre had engaged Nigerians at various levels through productivity researches and surveys, productivity promotion and advocacy, productivity coaching and mentoring, award of excellence, among other instruments. He therefore, called on participants and resource persons to put in their best for the achievement of the main objective of the Summit.
“I encourage us all to have the mindset and mentality of continuous progress so that collectively we can raise a productive Nigeria for the betterment of the future generation,’’ he said.
The Chairman, National Productivity Summit Planning Committee, Dr Gbenga Bamiduro, stated that the event was designed to bring experts and stakeholders together for robust conversations on the mobilization and management of resources in the country for higher productivity.
The Federal Government says it will spend about N34 billion as arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the education sector effective from 2019.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that this was aimed at resolving the lingering crisis in the sector.
Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen on the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and others on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ngige said that the beneficiaries of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments included the members of the striking ASUU and their counterparts in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
According to Ngige, the universities will get N23.5 billion, the polytechnics N6 billion and the Colleges of Education N4 billion, bringing the total sum to N33.5 billion.
The minister, while giving update on the ongoing striking, said committees were set up during the last tripartite meeting of the government and university based unions.
He said they were given a fortnight to turn in their report, adding they were still working and the reports of the committees were being expected at the end of the week.
“Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
“Also the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.
“They have started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued their amendment circulars.
“The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.’’
Ngige assured that there might likely be wage adjustments as the government intensified efforts to streamling wages through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
“For example, we have done for police . It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in pockets. But you can see that police has been done.
“You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately, since we have done police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then.
“So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for government to see.
“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain-drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 per cent.
“From N5, 000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15, 000, while the big ones are getting N45, 000. So, that is the quantum leap.’’he added.
The minister therefore, appealed to ASUU and other university-based unions once more to suspend their strike so that academic activities could resume once again in public universities across the country.(
The Federal Government and the International Labour Organisation(ILO) has called for proper planning of climate policies to ensure effective implementation in the country.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said this while inaugurating the “Just Transition and Green Jobs Project for Nigeria’’ on Monday in Abuja.
The project which is also known as the “Social Dimension of Ecological Transition has been domiciled as the “Just Transition and Green Jobs for Nigeria Project”.
It is also been implemented in some other African countries such as Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Nigeria and scheduled to run until December 2024.
Ngige, represented by Ms Kachollom Daju, Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said that to achieve the aim of the climate policies, all stakeholders in both the public and private sectors must be actively involved.
He said the initiative is key to national development due to the dire need for Nigeria to fulfill her obligations, as contained in the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
According to him, the entire African continent, contributes less than three per cent of the Green House Gas (GHG).
“The impact of global warming is more severe on the socio-economic well-being of the developing countries.
“The situation is made worse by the fact that most of these countries are already being challenged by intermittent economic instabilities and recessions.
“This is due to COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other development challenges contributing to their high poverty profiles and poor social indices,’’ he said.
Ngige added that for instance, the intense global campaigns to replace fossil fuel with renewable energy sources have adverse implications on Nigeria’s economy.
He said this was due to the nation’s high dependence on crude oil exportation as the major source of foreign exchange earnings.
The minister said the degree of impact of climate actions on sectors in Nigeria vary; with the oil and gas industry expected to be most severely affected.
“However, the agricultural industry, as well as five other sectors identified in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), will also be hard hit if ignored in the process of cushioning the impact of the actions on workers.
“This would create a dependency phenomenon, with loss of jobs in large numbers and significant economic pressures on the livelihood of the affected workforce, ultimately sending negative ripples on the nation’s economy at macro level.
“Therefore, the climate policies and strategies formulated for Nigeria must be carefully planned, implemented and evaluated to ensure that no one is left behind, ‘’he said.
He added that this justifies the multi-sectoral composition of both the Project Steering Committee (PSC) and Technical Work Group (TWG) which have been inaugurated on this project.
“It is expected that the launch of the Just Transition Project in Nigeria would create massive awareness and sensitise stakeholders and the general public on the need to support the initiative.
“That is towards harnessing the various opportunities created by the climate change actions in Nigeria.
“Also, the focus is to grow the economy, ameliorate any undesirable socio-economic impact on workers; strengthen the workforce by replacing obsolete skills and creating new jobs,’’ he said.
The minister added that the project, which is designed to be private sector led, will ensure that substitution of fossil energy with solar, wind powers, among others would not lead to deficits in job volumes.
He said it would also open new and diverse opportunities for new investments, technologies and jobs, especially for young Nigerians.
Ngige however, noted the high prospects of the initiative towards the reduction of the lingering high unemployment and under employment rates in Nigeria.
ILO Country Director to Nigeria, Ms Vanessa Phala, said the actions planned under the project will contribute to strengthening the resilience of local economies and expansion of opportunities for decent job creation.
Phala also noted that the 2015 Paris Agreement highlighted a just transition and decent work as essential elements to responses to climate change.
“This is as well as the guidelines for a just transition towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all, as adopted by the ILO constituents to guide the transformation.
“It aims to enable ambitious climate action that delivers decent jobs and advances social justice; support countries on bold solutions for a transition towards a sustainable future.
“That is just for all and enjoys broad-based support and facilitate an inclusive and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis for building back better,’’she added.
She also noted that project was supported by the ILO Office, Abuja, with the French Government.
Also, Mr Emma Ugboaja, General Secretary, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said that the Just Transition is the flagship contribution of the World of Work to the Climate Change discourse.
“The struggle for the mainstreaming of workers’ concerns and perspectives on the global climate change discourse did not come easy.
“We therefore, demand that the Nigerian Just Transition and Green Jobs Project must be built on Social Dialogue.
“The Nigerian Just Transition and Green Jobs Project must pay attention to Social Protection and also government should invest in research and innovation.
“Ultimately, our collective aspiration should be to engender an economy wide process that collaborates on plans, policies and investments that lead to a future where there is an abundance of green and decent jobs,’’he said. (
Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has linked the scourge of child labour to pervasive poverty in the African continent.
Ngige made the remark on Wednesday while addressing the International Labour Organisation (ILO) 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour, holding in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa .
A statement signed by Mr Olajide Oshundun, Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, made this known in Abuja.
He said that the current administration in Nigeria had adopted multi-pronged approach to fighting child labour through reduction in poverty index, in spite of teething challenges.
The minister, who co-chaired the day’s panel, said Nigeria faced numerous challenges in the fight against child labour but was doing everything possible to stem the social malaise.
According to him, the challenges in the fight to eradicate child labour include low revenue earnings due to fall in crude oil prices and production, over dependence on imported goods or items.
The minister listed others as low agricultural production and the consequential economic recession.
He attributed the worsening scenario in Nigeria to the COVID-19 pandemic which stagnated economic activities all over the world, pushing the country into a second economic recession in 2020.
“Even before the present administration, poverty had crept into Nigeria’s socio-economic firmament and accentuated child labour with many non-working age persons taking to farming and artisanal mining.
“Also, the educational curriculum not properly developed to give the right and proper skills in the secondary and tertiary institutions compounded matters.
“High rate of school dropouts among children also became a major issue and a catchment pool for Child Labour.
”Also, decent jobs for young persons gave way to informal, hazardous jobs, such as illegal refining of petroleum products which has claimed scores of lives with attendant pollution,” he said.
Ngige added that others were the poor working in heavy construction industry and ill-equipped persons handling dangerous chemicals in industries.
He however said that to reverse poverty which was at the root of child labour, the Federal Government had rolled out various measures including the diversification of the economy
According to him, this is through agriculture revolution-provision of fertilisers, grants to farmers, quick yields and agricultural extension.
He said the other measures were the stoppage of unnecessary importation of commodities such as rice, potato and beans and blockage of revenue leakages.
Ngige therefore said government was boosting Technical and Vocational Training Education, though the restructuring of the entire secondary and tertiary education curricular.
He explained that the government had introduced free education at primary and junior secondary level as well as school feeding programme to tackle low school enrolment.
“We equally have adhoc employment schemes, like the National Youth Service Corps scheme for all graduates of tertiary institutions under 30 years, N- POWER programme for one million unemployed persons.
”We also have social security programmes, like Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), survival funds and entrepreneurship loans. The establishment of Occupational and Safety Health Commission is in progress,”he said.
He added that though these efforts were yielding fruits, the Nigerian Government still needed technical support from the ILO.
The event was declared open by the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari will determine fate of those Ministers who shelved their political ambitions.
The minister stated this when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after the weekly virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The meeting was presided over by President Buhari at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
Mohammed said he needed to confirm the position of things as regard the status of the returning cabinet members on whether they have been properly reabsorbed or otherwise.
The minister said: “The other question about ministers returning or not going, I think you need to give me more time so that I can tell you exactly what the situation is.
”Right now, I need to cross check. I need to confirm again from Mr President what the situation is. You see the final decision on who is going, who’s coming back, who’s not going lies with Mr. President”
NAN reports that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Abubakar Malami was physically present at the Council’s meeting on Wednesday, while the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva attended the meeting virtually from their various offices in Abuja.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who also rescinded his decision to participate in the forthcoming party’s primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was reported to be on an official visit to South Africa.
Ngige is attending the International Labour Organization (ILO), global conference on Child Labour in Durban.
NAN reports that President Buhari on May 13 met with outgoing 10 ministers at a valedictory session in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Ministers are those of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
Others are the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of State, Mines and Steel Development, Uche Ogah, the Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen and the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Tayo Alasoadura.
The Minister of State (Education), Emeka Nwajiuba, who had earlier tendered his resignation, was not present at the valedictory session.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, said that he had withdrawn his presidential aspiration to contest in the 2023 General Elections.
Ngige said this in a statement he signed and issued to newsmen on Friday in Abuja.
According to him, on April 19, I publicly declared my interest to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
”This was following the constitutional provision that precludes our amiable incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari from seeking re-election to the office, as he would have completed his two terms in office by 29th May 2023.
”The declaration was made in my home town, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra.
”My declaration was sequel to pressure on me from my constituents, political associates, friends and other well meaning Nigerians, who felt I possess the necessary qualifications and experience for the job,” he said.
He noted that some of the supporters taxed themselves to procure the Expression of Nomination Forms of the Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for him.
He said the forms, however, had yet to be filled and submitted.
“Today, May 13, I had an audience with the President, Muhammadu Buhari, as a follow up to the one I earlier had with him on May 11.
”Having also consulted widely with my family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers, it is my pleasure to announce the withdrawal of my interest and earlier decision to contest the office of the President in the 2023 general elections.
”As a result of this, I will not be participating in any of the internal party processes of the said election, starting with the primaries.
”I took this momentous decision firstly in the overall interest of the nation.
“In order to enable me to concentrate on my job and assist the President, and the Government, weather the difficult last lap in the life of the administration and secondly for other family reasons,” he added.
The minister said that he had since communicated his decision to the President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
According to him, my constituents, political associates and well-wishers across the country are by this statement informed of this latest decision.
He added that the decision also had the blessing and support of the overwhelming majority, hence superseded any other interest, personal or otherwise.(
The Federal Government has expressed optimism that the decisions reached at its tripartite plus meeting with the university-based unions would start yielding fruits next week. This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday by Mr Olajide Oshundun, Head, Press and Public Relations in the ministry. Oshundun quoted the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige as saying this while addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting on the on-going strike by unions in the education sector. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) are currently on strike. Also on strike are the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT). The unions are pushing for improved welfare packages and better working environments. “We had cordial and fruitful discussion; we looked at the issues dispassionately and reached some agreements, to the satisfaction of everybody in attendance”, Ngige said. He said the discussion was moved out of the Labour Ministry to make it tripartite plus because the government brought in some interested parties in a bid to resolve disputes. He said that the parties included the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) headed by the Sultan of Sokoto; Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), led by Rev. Sampson Ayokunle, NIREC co- chairman. “We discussed. Everybody was happy. We reached some agreements and we hope that by next week, those agreements will start maturing. “ The four unions will also go and brief their members, so that they can call off the strike,” he said. The minister also said some issues such as the 2009 agreement as it affects the renegotiation of condition of service and wage review could be concluded next week. The statement also quoted the Chief of Staff to the President and Chairman of the tripartite meeting, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as informing the meeting that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed him to pilot the meeting. Gambari said the team comprises of the Ministers of Labour, Finance and Education would work with ASUU leaders and stakeholders find a lasting solution to the perennial strikes in our education system. He said that the perennial problems had culminated in the mutilation of the nation’s educational calendar. “Not long ago, we had professors and students from universities in other countries coming to work in our universities. “Not long ago we had a calendar and predictability of when a student enters the university and when he or she can graduate. ”But we all know that all of that have changed and the impact on our education system and even the reputation of our universities has been devastating,” he said. Gambari assured that Mr President was determined to put an end to this negative development by ”We need predictable and quality education so that the human capital required to move our country forward will further be developed in a consistent manner. “It is in this light that the meeting has been convened and I want to commend, on behalf of Mr President, the efforts made by the co-chairs of NIREC in having meetings with ASUU,” he said. In his remarks, according to the statement, Abubakar assured that all hope was not lost in the resolution of the strikes in the university system. “Once we sit together to discuss a problem, we believe that the end is in sight as dialogue is the best option in resolving all issues”, he said. He said as NIREC, they came on board as a show of concern and determination to end the industrial disputes. “I don’t think it will be so beneficial to us that while our children are at home and threatening violence across the country, blocking roads and airports and we as elders sit down watching. “The best thing is to go back to the classroom and we continue negotiation. We will continue sitting together until the final solution is attained. It is not impossible. “There must be a compromise. At the end of it all, there will be no victor, no vanquished. It is important to see us working to put our educational system back on track. “It will be very dangerous to allow our children to sit at home for the next three weeks. That is why we plead with the unions to see the need to call off while we negotiate”, he said. On his own part according to the statement, Ayokunle commended the Federal Government for the confidence reposed on them to be part of the meeting. He said the poor funding of universities was but borne out of long period of neglect, `which snowballed to where things are today’. “If others funded the education sector as much as the present administration had done like this administration maybe we will not be where we are. He appealed to the unions to return to work in the interest of children’s and the future of the country. Also, ASUU president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke urged the government to give quality attention to education, saying if it does, all the problems could be amicably resolved very soon. (
Mr Babachir Lawal, a member of Tinubu Support Groups (TSG) has expressed optimism that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu will emerge All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential flag bearer at the end of the primaries.Lawal, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF)said this on Wednesday in Abuja when speaking with newsmen, shortly leading a team to submit Tinubu’s Expression of Interest and Nomination forms at the party’s secretariat.According to him, Tinubu is 100 per cent prepared for the convention slated for May 30 and June 1 and will cliche the party’s 2023 presidential ticket.“We feel elated that today we’ve come to submit the winning form and we have complied with one of the major requirements of the party for contesting for presidency on the platform of APC.“We’ve done all that is required we’ve submitted all the required documents as you can see.“We have received our acknowledgement copy and we’re confident that victory will be ours come May 30th during the convention,” he said.Speaking on the large number of aspirants in the presidential race, Lawal said the more the merrier.He said as democrats the TSG believed that even if there were one million aspirants for the APC ticket, Tinubu would win the primaries.“So the more the merrier, they are all welcome,” Lawal said, adding that Tinubu was very prepared to face other aspirants at the APC special presidential primary convention.“He is a democrat, every politician should not be afraid of election because the probability are two; either you win or lose.“So, if we win at the convention, we will go back home, we will leak our wounds and prepare to support the winner if he wins in a fee and fair manner.“There are no challenges. We are politicians, we have been in this game for many years, whatever challenges there are, we have already converted them into opportunities,” Lawal saidTinubu also regarded as APC national leader, was a former two-term governor of Lagos State.The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 28 aspirants, including were in the APC 2023 presidential race.Some of them included Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation and Sen. Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor.
Others were Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajuba, the Minister of State for Education, Gov. David Umuahi of Ebonyi, and Sen. Ken Nnamani.
Also in the race were Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, Sen. Ibikunle Amosun (APC-Ogun Central) and former two-term governor of Ogun, Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Mr Adams Oshiomhole, a former APC National Chairman, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology and Ms Uju Ohanenye, a female aspirant were also in the race.
The APC special presidential primary convention is slated to hold from May 30 to June 1.
The Niger Delta Youth Council (NDYC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for ordering all members of his cabinet and appointees vying for electoral offices to resign on or before May 16.
The NDYC National Coordinator, Mr Jator Abido, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the president acted in line with the amended Electoral Act.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the order came at Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by the President in Abuja.
The president said this while praising the Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, for braving the odds and handing in his resignation after purchasing the presidential election form.
Abido said the group was satisfied with the president’s order, noting that it has helped to distinguish him as a man of honour who does not associate himself with lawlessness.
“Section 84(12) of the Electoral Act provides that, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
According to him, this singular act by the president has brought about trust in his leadership and the anti-corruption fight.
He called on Buhari and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin to investigate and audit the accounts of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and its supervising Ministry of Niger Delta affairs.
He said the audit would help in ensuring that money meant for the development of the Niger Delta region was used judiciously.
“This money must not be used by corrupt politicians in sponsoring their campaigns and luxurious lifestyle at the expense of the poor and vulnerable people of the Niger Delta,’’ Abido said.
He said that the council was willingness to partner with aspirants from the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large who have concrete solutions to the country’s problems, especially the challenges facing the region.
“As the 2023 general elections draw near, we wish to state categorically that our doors are open to partner and work with candidates who have the interest of Nigeria at heart.
“With more than 40 per cent of voters in the Niger Delta, we believe that our partnership will surely be rewarding”, the coordinator said.
NAN reports that cabinet members affected by the president’s order include; Ministers of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta, Sen. Godswill Akpabio; Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Ogbonnaya Onu.
Others are; the Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Meanwhile, the Minister of State, Mines and Steel, Mr Uche Ogar, is running for the governorship position in Abia.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, also declared her ambition to contest the senatorial seat in Plateau. (