By Marcus Ikechukwu
President Muhammadu Buhari may not have fully decided yet on the reassumption of some of his cabinet ministers who recently withdrew from the presidential and gubernatorial race to finish their term as Ministers.
Recall that owing to the Electoral Act amendment, President Buhari had directed all ministers interested in contesting the elections to resign on or before May 16th, 2022.
While about 10 of them had indicated interest to run for the presidency and gubernatorial positions respectively, some of them rescinded their ambition to return to the Federal Executive Council to complete their tenure.
Ministers of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipreye Silva, Minister of Justice and Attoney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami including the Minister of Women Affairs, Pallen Tallen fell into the categories of ministers that rescinded their political ambitions.
On Wednesday, at the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari some of them were in attendance.
But it appears the President has not fully accepted them back going by explanations offered by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed after the meeting which held at the council chambers, State House Abuja.
His words, “on 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. I think, you see the final decision on who is going, who’s coming back? Who’s not going lies with the President”.
Recall also that two ministers who made U-turn in their interest in vying for gubernatorial and senatorial positions respectively in the 2023 elections, were part of the Federal Executive Council meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday.
While the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, was part of those physically attending the meeting at the council chambers, Women Affairs Minister, Paulline Tallen, who was going for the senatorial seat in Plateau State, joined virtually.
Lai Mohammed had also told State House Correspondents that the President was on the verge of replacing the Minister who had left on account of their political ambitions.
Recall also that the ministers in question had attended a brief valedictory session organised by the presidency before making the U-turn.
Their actions had prompted reactions from lawyers like, Femi Falana who noted that they were not eligible to return as ministers after declaring to contest elections, even though some of them never turned their resignation letters in.
It is also speculated that President Buhari is being careful to avoid a situation where the party’s candidates would elicit court litigations from the opposition parties as the 2023 general elections draw closer.