The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Friday in Abuja, said a significant number of the outgoing members of the Federal Executive Council have been sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the office of the President.
The President said this at a valedictory session for 10 of his cabinet members who are vying for various electoral offices in next year’s general elections, according to a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
The statement was titled, ‘President Buhari to outgoing FEC members: Significant number of you sufficiently equipped to be my successor.’
Buhari had at the tail end of Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, ordered all members of his cabinet who are aspiring to various electoral offices to resign on or before Monday.
Buhari’s cabinet members seeking to contest in the 2023 general elections include the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio; Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu; Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. 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, Chief Tayo Alasoadura and the Minister of State (Education), Emeka Nwajiuba.
At the valedictory session, all, but Nwajiuba, who had earlier tendered his resignation, were present.
At the valedictory session on Friday, the President said the ensuing vacancies would be filled in the coming days.
“I am happy to note that a significant number of cabinet members have become sufficiently equipped to aspire to higher elective offices, including the Office of the President. This shows the impact of the experience gathered while serving as members of the Federal Executive Council.
‘’I have no doubt that if the next President emerges from among former members of this cabinet, like any other aspirant, ample competence and outstanding service delivery would be on display. This will be part of our legacies to Nigerians.
‘’I note that some have complied while others are in the process of doing so. I would like to use this opportunity to commend your decision and courage to contest for elective offices and your compliance with my directive.
‘’I also wish to thank you for your invaluable services to this nation through your contributions as cabinet members. I wish you success in the upcoming elections and your future endeavors,’’ Buhari said.
The President told the ministers that looking back as the head of the team over the years, he had fond memories of incisive and robust discussions during cabinet meetings, rendering of performance reports during special sessions, and presidential retreats.
Noting that the departure of some cabinet members had undoubtedly created a vacuum that should be filled, the President said appointments would be made without delay so that the business of governance would not suffer.
He urged the remaining members of the cabinet to show more diligence, resilience, and commitment to serve Nigerians better, saying,‘‘The journey to the finish line is still very far.’’
Speaking on behalf of the outgoing ministers, Akpabio thanked the President for giving them the opportunity to serve and contribute their quota to nation building.
He described working with Buhari as a ‘‘fantastic and knowledgeable experience,’’ adding that as they stepped aside they would continue to be great disciples of Buhari.
‘’As we step aside from FEC, I want you to know that you have disciples in us. I want you to know that it is time for us to propagate Buharism.”
According to Akpabio, Buhari was the ‘’best President Nigeria could ever have had at a time of difficult circumstances.’’
He prayed to God to grant Buhari a successful tenure and protect his family.