By Ikeugonna Eleke
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, last Sunday, May 24, provided food and cash gifts to vulnerable people in Anambra State as part of efforts to ameliorate the hardship caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
Ngige, who presented cash and food items, totaling N15m to some vulnerable persons in his hometown, Alor, Idemili South Local Government Area, said the palliatives had nothing to do with rumours about his guber ambition.
He said even though it was his constitutional right to vie for any elective position of his choice, he had no intention to run for the governorship position as he was too busy with his national assignment as a minister.
He said, ‘Senator Chris Ngige Foundation has been in place since seven years ago, so it has nothing to do with the election next year. We are targeting 1,000 vulnerable households for the COVID-19 palliative distribution in the area.
‘Whether you’re a member of APC or PDP, APGA, Accord, APA, PPP, or any other party, once you are vulnerable, you get it. We started with my town. We will pan out to my local government, then to my entire senatorial district. We also intend to reach out to the Church. If we don’t do it and COVID-19 kills all of us, what then will my foundation do?’
Reacting to speculations that he may run for the governorship position, Ngige said, ‘Yes, there have been speculations that I am eyeing the governorship of Anambra State. They have written about it in the media. I am a politician. They have the right to speculate on my next move. My next move is very vast.
‘Elections will come in 2023, I have a right to vie for any position. I can vie for Senate. I can vie for President if I so wish. Election will be coming in Anambra State, latest November 2021, to elect a successor to Obiano. I am not disqualified. I have a right to say I can run.
‘I don’t have interest for now in Anambra governorship because I am on national assignment. I am Minister of Labour and Employment of the Federation and I am the chief conciliator of all labour disputes for now. And you can see that with the economy going into doldrums and shaking, the cynosure of all the effects of economic trouble is industrial disputes.
‘Recognizing this, Mr President has put me in a committee to prepare COVID exit plan and we have subcommittees, while I head the job creation committee, comprising Ministers of Industries, Agriculture, Works and Education,’ Ngige said.
Ngige had earlier been alleged to be mobilizing the support of the leadership of the APC and the presidency to support his governorship ambition in Anambra state.