Thursday, 14 January 2016

Why I’m Out of Anambra Senatorial Race - Chris Ngige

The former Governor of Anambra State and current Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has said his decision to stay out of the court-ordered Anambra Central senatorial election re-run is to enable him execute a crucial assignment given to him by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Apart from personal reasons, Ngige said he felt it would not be good to abandon the national assignment given to him as a minister to create jobs for the teaming army of unemployed Nigerian youths.

Speaking with journalists at the APC national secretariat yesterday in Abuja, the minister said despite the economic down turn in the country, his ministry was poised to fulfill his party manifestoes in the areas of job creation, women empowerment and providing succor for the less- privileged.

“I am not running because of official and personal reasons. The official reason being that I have an assignment given to me by Mr. President as Minister of Labour and Employment. As a matter of fact, my job is 60 per cent more of employment generation than labour. Labour matters constitute only about 40 per cent which is about labour and industrial relations, workers welfare and the rest of them all.

According to Ngige, “Unemployment is a very big scourge, a very serious disease in Nigeria now and there is need to fight it frontally.

“I have gone to that ministry, had briefings from relevant officers and top management officers and I fill that Nigeria is at a cross roads. The APC manifesto stipulates what we are going to do. We promised Nigerians that we were going to create jobs, we are going to create employment and unfortunately for us, the economy has taken a serious down turn so we need Spartans like me to keep our flag flying and bring out water from the rock and that is what exactly we are going to do,” he said.

The minister threw more light on reports that the party might have endorsed senator Uche Ekwenife to substitute him in the re-run Anambra Central senatorial contest, who just decamped to APC, saying that, “what happened was that as at the time Senator Ekwunife came in she was the only person who signified interest in APC to do the rerun senatorial election in Anambra but that two other people have also shown interest which will now lead to the holding of primary election to decide who picks the ticket.”

Ngige said since there are now three persons interested in contesting for the senate ticket, all of them would be made to fight for the party’s ticket.

Speaking on the court case instituted by the APGA’s candidate Chief Victor Umeh against the candidate of both APC and PDP over their eligibility, Ngige advised the APGA to go to the field and campaign for votes rather than wasting his time in court.

“It’s a fresh election and besides for us in the APC, we are on very safe ground because section 33 of the electoral act permits us to substitute a candidate who has either died or has withdrawn. The two elections I ran, I came in as a substitute candidate in those two elections.

“That section has always been there to make allowance for people who for circumstances beyond their control could not continue. The APGA candidate should better go to the field and ask for votes rather than wasting his time in court to stop the candidature of another person.”

While evaluating the chances of APC at the March election, Ngige said: “We stand a very good chance, my political structure is there, the party has its own machinery. They’re interwoven and if I don’t want to over estimate I will say that if you combine my structure with that of the party.

“I don’t have an organisation as such but there are certain things that go for me in that senatorial district, the party, before the election starts, has a solid 40-45 per cent vote that she can say is her own based on our effect.
“APGA is not a push over in the state, it can boast of say 30 per cent. PDP can boast of maybe 10-15 per cent. Out of those 10-15 per cent, “Ekwunife has some because she has ran a federal constituency two times and won therefore she’s not a push over. If you do an additive of all these I mentioned, the chance of the party is bright and we will work hard in taking that seat because we want to show that the state is not an APGA state or a PDP state

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