Labor and Employment Minister Chris Ngige has explained why he cannot endorse or campaign for any of the four main candidates for the post of president.
Ngige revealed his motive on Tuesday in his hometown of Alor, Idemili South local government area of Anambra state, while distributing gifts from his foundation to people in the area.
Ngige, a member of the All Progressives Party, said the four presidential candidates are his friends and have worked with them at one point or another, so he could not pick any of them to support.
The minister described Peter Obi of the Labor Party as his brother, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the APC and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party as his good friends.
Therefore, he urged Nigerians to vote for the right candidate who could work for them after a critical assessment of his manifestos and background.
He said: “The front four are good candidates with similar experience in government at the federal and state levels.
“They are my friends and I know them well. They have worked with me in one way or another before now.
“Peter Obi from the Labor Party is my brother, his local government is next to mine here my successor and all. I know him too well. I know his ability.
“Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party was in charge of the country’s affairs when I was kidnapped as acting governor. He was acting on behalf of Mr. President, who was in Maputo at the time. He ordered my reinstatement. We sit together in the National Economic Council of which he is the President. We formed the Action Congress with Asiwaju.
“APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu is also my good friend and political ally. He was a great support during our difficult times as Governor. We formed AC together. We worked together at ACN and I became the only opposition senator in the eastern region under the platform of the Nigerian Action Congress. He’s not someone I don’t know.
“NNPP’s Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso is also my friend. I met him as vice president of the federal House of Representatives under Agunwa Anaekwe in 1991 as president. We were at APC, so I know him.
“For me, may the Nigerian people vote well. Let Nigerians look at them and their manifestos and vote, according to what is right for the country.
“I don’t think I’ll campaign for candidate A or B or C. I won’t do that. It is not my action in the trade. I don’t jump from party to party. But also, I have some conscience and I’m going to protect my conscience and make sure I don’t hurt it.”
The minister had indicated interest in contesting the APC presidential primary and was said to have purchased the Expression of Interest Form before withdrawing from the exercise.