Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Murtala Ajaka, has called on Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige to resign if he cannot openly back the 2023 presidential candidate of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Ajaka said this in response to comments Ngige made as a guest on Channels Television programme, Politics Today on Friday.
Asked if he would support the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, or the Labour Party candidate, Peter Obi, Ngige described the question as “difficult”.
“I have told you that I’m not active in politics.
“I’m not active in politics for now because I am facing a national assignment.
“Both of them are my friends. My choice will be in the ballot box. Whether conscience or no conscience, on that day in February, I’ll have one vote,” Ngige stated.
He added, “It is a secret ballot, and I shouldn’t tell Nigerians what I would do secretly.
“Both men and their track records are good, but you must go into the nitty-gritty of your analysis.
“Asiwaju Bola Tinubu came to Lagos when there was nothing. I lived in Lagos so I can tell you. He did what he was supposed to do and reformed the financial system, and built a solid foundation and roadmap for his successors.”
However, Ajaka faulted Ngige in a Saturday statement.
He said it behoved all party leaders to back the party’s choice of presidential candidate.
“The 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,” the deputy spokesman said.
“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 enthronement 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.
“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 said.