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Senator Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labor and Employment, said yesterday that he plans to run for President in the 2023 general election. He said that he wants to see a rich, united, and egalitarian Nigeria.
A large crowd at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alor, Anambra State, heard Ngige say that he wanted to run for president when he officially declared his intention. He wants to be the party’s presidential candidate.
The former governor of Anambra State said he had a lot of knowledge, talent, and enthusiasm, as well as a wide heart to accept the different ways that Nigerians are different from each other.
Ngige, who enumerated his multiple accomplishments as a former governor, ex-Senator, and two-term minister, referred to himself as the “jack of all trades and master of all” that Nigeria needs at the moment.
He expressed gratitude to the President for the opportunity to serve as a minister, which he described as broadening his knowledge of the various ministries, departments, and agencies; serving as a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC); and mediating disputes between employers and employees in the various arms of the government and the private sector.
According to him, his tenure as chief conciliator in the difficult and complex Ministry of Labor enriched his understanding of worker problems, the difficulties industrialists and entrepreneurs face, why industries close down, and why some run far below their installed capacity and, as a result, employ fewer people.
He stated that under his leadership, the Labor Ministry has successfully resolved 1683 industrial disputes in the last seven years, with 95 percent of them resolved through the ministry and its agency, the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP), while only about three percent of the disputes were resolved through the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).
The minister said that they elevated labor administration to a higher level in the international arena, bringing Nigeria back to the Governing Board (GB) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) after a ten-year hiatus.
“Shall we say the APC as party and as a government has failed? The answer is a big ‘No.’ The three cardinal issues upon which Nigeria gave us a mandate in 2015 are infrastructure/economic development, security, and anti-corruption. In properly assessing this government and our programs, it is important we start from where we met Nigeria in 2015. I don’t want to be one of those in the class of wailers, wallowing in self-pity. No! I want to be your ambassador so I can go and grow prosperity, grow the resources that are needed for a big country like Nigeria.”
“Truth be told, Nigeria has been in the years of the locust, starting from the 80s, 90s, the long period of military rule to 2015. Luckily, the leaves were all eaten away, but the tree and the branches still stand.”
“Yes, I’m part of this administration, so I should know what the resources look like and I know what the challenges are. This is because I’m in the room and I’m privy to decisions taken. In scoring the administration, one can give us a pass, credit, or distinction in infrastructure depending on the assessor. But let me ask. Can you score a government that has invested massively in infrastructural development, built roads and bridges like Lagos -Ibadan-Ilorin Rd, 2nd Niger Bridge, almost completed, and the reactivation of the rail system anything but distinction?”
“You can also score us in security, again depending on the baseline – even though we know that the security deterioration is also linked to the economic situation of the country, which has stifled jobs while population gallops by the day.”
Ngige stated that if he is elected President, the Nigerian Police, as the agency responsible for homeland security, will be equipped with men and material to function optimally, lamenting that the current administration’s attempts to increase their manpower by 10,000 each year for the last five years have been stifled by unnecessary bureaucracy.
According to him, decentralization of the Nigerian police is the way to go, so that governors of states may be both nominal and actual top security officials.
He stated that the Nigerian police system has to adapt to more closely resemble that of the court, which has successfully collaborated with both the state judiciary and the federal arm via a handshake.
He said that as a former governor and state’s chief security officer, he understands what to do and how to accomplish it.
Ngige recounted that during his tenure as Governor of Anambra State, he faced a N42 billion debt, schools shuttered for a year with teachers and civil workers due for almost a year, physicians and health professionals on strike for eight months, and pensioners regarded as “dead woods.”
The presidential aspirant pledged that if elected, he would direct Nigerians’ resources toward expanding the present administration’s infrastructural projects. Ngige asked university system officials to inform their constituents of the truth about what is occurring with UTAS at the NITDA. He pleaded with ASUU to change their stance and help rescue Nigeria’s education industry.