A group, Project Nigeria, has reportedly procured the expression of Interest and nomination forms for the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba, to contest for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The group, according to Abubakar Usman, special assistant on new media to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, paid and picked the form on behalf of the minister at the APC Secretariat on Wednesday.
Mr Usman disclosed this in a tweet on his verified Twitter handle; @MrAbusidiq.
“The Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba becomes the first person to pick the APC Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms for the APC Presidential Primary as a group of Nigerians raised over N100m from where they purchased the forms for him,” Mr Usman tweeted.
Mr Nwajuiba is yet to officially declare to contest for the position.
Efforts by PREMIUM TIMES to speak with the minister were unsuccessful as he did not pick the call placed to his phone nor reply to a message sent to him.
A copy of the receipt has been circulating on social media platforms.
It is not uncommon to see support groups operating by proxy on behalf of politicians.
A group, known as Green Alliance Movement, has been campaigning on behalf of the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and even procured campaign vehicles on his behalf.
The purchase of the form for the minister has been generating negative reactions on social media because of the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Many condemned the purchase of the form for the minister as well as his presidential ambition despite the fact that students of Nigerian universities have been at home since February 14 when the strike commenced.
The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, whose ministry is statutorily charged to manage labour relations, has also declared interest to jostle for the APC ticket.
Alao Abiodun tweeted “Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, Chris Ngige are both contesting for 2023 Presidency. They are not intentional with their approach(es) to end the lingering ASUU, NASU, SSANU strike but it seems they are rather interested in politicking. Very pathetic. #ASUUstrike.”
This development is coming less than 24hours that Orji Uzor Kalu pulled out of the race because of the failure of the ruling party to zone the ticket to the South-east where he hails from.
Nwajuiba’s political journey
The Minister was a member of the House of Representatives in 1999 to 2003 under the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) and was re-elected into the House in 2019 on the platform of Accord Party before he was appointed minister by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He became a member of the House after the pronouncement by the FCT High Court Kubwa, which sacked Chike Okafor, Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency of Imo State, and pronounced Mr Nwajuiba as the winner of the election.
However, the decision of the FCT High court was subsequently upturned by the Appeal Court and finally the Supreme Court. However, by then, Mr Nwajuiba was already a cabinet minister.
During his stint in the 9th House, he made a bid for the Speakership position but stepped down for the eventual winner, Femi Gbajabiamila.