4 Ministers Set To Quit Jonathan’s Cabinet


Four ministers in President Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet who have signified their interest in seeking political offices in their states and are set to quit the cabinet soon.

The Minister of Information, Labaran Maku;  Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu; the Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro; and the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, are seeking the 2015 governorship tickets in their states.

While Labaran Maku on Sunday specifically announced that he would resign on 20 October to pursue his ambition to become the governor of Nassarawa State, northcentral Nigeria in 2015, Onyebuchi Chukwu has already been endorsed as the consensus governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Ebonyi State, eastern Nigeria.

On his part, Musiliu Obanikoro is also seeking the PDP governorship ticket in Lagos State, western Nigeria, while Nyesom Wike is gunning for the party’s governorship ticket in Rivers State.

The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) states that political office seekers must resign their appointments three months before election into the office they are seeking takes place.

•Sen. Obanikoro
•Sen. Obanikoro

Almost all the outgoing ministers have formidable opposition to contend with, especially aspirants in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Lagos, Rivers and Nassarawa states.

While making his announcement during a thanksgiving service at St. Patrick’s Parish, Akwanga, in Nasarawa State, Maku who is from the Eggon tribe in Nasarawa said: “Just thank God for me, just pray for me because by next week October 20, anyone in the cabinet that wants to contest election must step down because the time has come for us to do that.

“It is time to make my interest known . By the grace of God I will sacrifice the comfort of a minister, to go into the wilderness.

“I want to sacrifice the comfort of the high office that I am in now to join my people in the wilderness in  Nasarawa State to fight for peace and justice in this state.

“There is too much blood being shed here, there is too much evil taking place here, there is too much destruction going on in Nasarawa State. The time has come for us to ask God to bring this era to an end.

“And it is only God that can do it. We are asking God that as we step out voluntarily which is very  important to me, that as we go into the wilderness that God as He did for  Moses He will lead us to cross the red sea of politics, rip water from the rock, give us manna from heaven and pull down the wall of Jericho.

•Labara Maku
•Labara Maku

“There may be giants out there, all over, but like Caleb we trust God, we are able to conquer, we are able to subdue. So all we need is prayers and thank God for what He has done for me, not for what we are looking at, being governor will not really add anything to my name, I think I have made all the name I could make in Nigeria. But this sacrifice is for my people, to liberate my people.”

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Before joining the country’s political train, Maku was an active member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ.

Obanikoro, a former Chairman of the Lagos Island Local Government, has never hidden his desire to govern Lagos. He was the Commissioner for Home Affairs and Culture in 1999 during the tenure of Governor Bola Tinubu and served for four years before he was elected senator of the Federal Republic. He crossed carpet to the Peoples Democratic Party and in  2007, ran as the governorship candidate of the PDP. He was defeated by Governor Babatunde Fashola by a landslide. Shortly after he was made the country’s ambassador to Ghana. He is currently the Minister of State for Defence.

Before he was appointed the Minister of Health, Professor. O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, was an academic, health administrator and an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon. He is a fellow of both the West African and the International College of Surgeons and a member of the Board of Partnership for Maternal Newborn.

Chukwu was first appointed Minister of Health by President Goodluck Jonathan in April 2010 and re-appointed in June 2011.

The minister is one of those championing the transformation agenda of the president in the health sector.

Before his appointment as junior minister by President Jonathan,  Wike was Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Governor,  Rotimi Amaechi.

He  was charged with allegedly stealing N4.7 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in October 2008.

•Nyesom Wike
•Nyesom Wike

Wike was arraigned before Justice Abimbola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Gudu area of Abuja, charged with six counts of stealing N4.67 billion from the state’s coffers,  abuse of office and embezzlement of public funds.

The first count accused Wike of stealing N129 million, the second involved stealing N41.9 million, a third count accused him of stealing N100  million, while the sixth count states that he pilfered N3.5 billion naira.

EFCC officials arrested and detained Wike after he showed up at the agency’s offices accompanied by the secretary to the state government, Magnus Abbe.

Wike denied the allegations of converting his personal account to that of the state government account

Wike was also the former chairman of Obio/Akpo Local Government Area of the state and national president of the Association of Local Governments Of Nigeria.

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