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Ngige, Olawepo-Hashim Withdraw From 2023 Presidential Race

Ngige, Olawepo-Hashim
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May 13, (THEWILL) – Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige and Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, have announced their withdrawal as presidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress for the 2023 General elections.

Ngige had on Tuesday, 19th April, 2022, declared interest to contest the 2023 presidential election under the platform of the APC.

Announcing his withdrawal, the Minister in a statement personally signed on Friday, said his decision, was taken in the overall interest of the nation.

The statement read: “On Tuesday, 19th April 2022, I publicly declared my interest to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 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 29 May, 2023.

“The declaration was made in my home town, Alor, ldemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

“My declaration was sequel to pressure on me from my constituents, political associates, friends and other well-meaning Nigerians, necessary qualifications and experience for the job.

“Some of these supporters even taxed themselves to procure the Expression of Interest/ Nomination Forms of our Party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) for me. The forms, however, are yet to be filled and submitted.

“Today, 13th May, 2022, I had an audience with the President, Muhammadu Buhari, as a follow up to the one I earlier had with him on 11h May, 2022.

“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 primary.

“I took this momentous decision firstly in the overall interest of the nation, in order to enable me 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.

“I have since communicated this decision to the President and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

“My constituents, political associates and well-wishers across the country, are by this statement informed of this latest decision, which also has the blessing and support of the overwhelming majority, hence supersedes any other interest, personal or otherwise.”

On his part, Olawepo-Hashim in a statement from his media office in Abuja on Friday, explained that though his decision to contest was to offer a national platform for progressive forces who believe in the necessity and possibility of a new Nigeria, capable of securing itself from internal and external threats, and bring prosperity to all her people, but “certain developments have necessitated my withdrawal from the 2023 presidential race, as a result of which I did not pick the nomination form.”

He added that he is “retreating not out of the lack of will to fight for our resolve and collective aspiration for a New Nigeria, a struggle which has attracted enormous support. Sometimes WILL and RESOLVE, Energy and Preparation may not be enough to engage in an encounter.”

He equally maintained that his aspiration “is not an ambition, but an historic burden, as a team player. My current political pursuit must now bow to our collective National interest. It is not about me, but about Nigeria.”

According to him, “I stepped aside believing that another day will come. I hope our party will still be able to find a candidate for the 2023 election that will unite and secure our country. One that will lead an inclusive government, and build a prosperous economy that will not leave anyone behind. I leave the race believing that by the Grace of God my own day will come!”

He expressed gratitude to those who have connected with his messages and those who have offered support and prayers, assuring that pausing his Presidential run is not quitting the struggle for a better Nigeria, “a struggle I have committed myself to the better part of my adult life.”

“It is a tough decision for me, but in the present circumstance, it is the best thing in my judgement to do”, he added.