Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige has said he is still consulting party chieftains and other stakeholders on whether or not to join the presidential race ahead of the 2023 general election.
The minister was reacting to calls from fellow members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) urging him to run for the presidency.
He spoke during the second phase of the ministry’s empowerment scheme in Awka, the Anambra State capital, stressed that the programme would train and empower 3,000 youths from each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Ngige insisted that the April 2022 date he set to convey his decision was far, pleading that he needs just the next two months for further consultation.
“Easter is around the corner. That’s in April. There will be another event of this sort and, there, I will make my stand known on the 2023 presidential race, as I promised on December 31, 2021, during our end-of-the year gathering. Give me these remaining two months to round off consultations,” he added.
Also, Ngige has advised beneficiaries of skills training and empowerment programmes of the Federal Government to desist from selling machines and other tools given them to practise their skills and create employment.
A statement by his media office in Abuja reads: “The era when beneficiaries leave the venue only to sell these items is gone. Go and use them to practice the skills you have been taught. Employ yourselves and others.
The global trend is now on blue collar jobs, with skills in information and technology, which is a very wide area; in others, like mechanics and mechatronics; in creativity, such as designing and making of wears; in building technology, as in POP making, screening, carpentry and wood works; and most importantly, in multiple value chains in agriculture.”
“This empowerment programme for which we are here gathered is, therefore, for those who will use these items to create wealth, further their businesses. Those trained as unisex hair dressers, crop farmers and those who process the harvests of yams, maize, cassava and millet and so on. That’s the reason we have here water pumping machines for small irrigation, generators to power small shops, as well as industrial grinders and thrashers that process harvests.
“As the planting season approaches, we are giving more attention to agricultural tools in line with the emphasis of the Federal Government on self-sufficiency in food production. So, in the next phase, there will be more agricultural tools to enhance farming and create more employment.
“Luckily in the state, we have two specialist skills training centres at Alor and Ifite-Dunu. Both centres will be holding series of training by March with certificates issued at the end of each session. And this qualifies one for empowerment from the ministry or from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Of course, the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), our parastatal, will start its programme soon and more people will be keyed into it through the Skills Department in my ministry.
“The training and the empowerment scheme is for all Nigerians. But I belong to a political party, and that’s my primary constituency. So, members of our party will benefit more. Phases Three and Four of the programme will hold before the end of the year.”