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Akunyili quits Jonathan’s cabinet, dumps PDP for APGA

doraProfessor Dora Akunyili on Wednesday made her last appearance at the weekly meetings of the Federal Executive Council as she resigned her appointment as Minister of Information and Communications

Her resignation takes effect from today (Thursday). Already, Jonathan has appointed the Minister of State for Information and Communications, Mr. Labaran Maku, as the substantive minister.

Akunyili informed the President and other FEC members that she was quitting the government to enable her vie for a seat in the Senate during the elections in 2011.

She, however, stunned most FEC members as she announced that she would not be vying for the National Assembly seat under the Peoples Democratic Party but the All Progressive Grand Alliance.

In her valedictory address, Akunyili said her heart was heavy because she was leaving ‘a family’ that she had ‘bonded’ with.

Akunyili, said, “Mr. President, Mr. Vice-President, and my esteemed colleagues with whom I have formed a family — some of you for the past two years and others for a lesser period of time. I wish to humbly inform you that I am resigning from the cabinet with effect from tomorrow, 16th December, 2010.

“Today (Wednesday) is, therefore, a very emotional day for me in council. This is because I have been so closely bonded to most of you that my departure is like leaving a family. My heart is so heavy because in this council, I have found comfort and friendship.”

Addressing journalists in company with Maku, Akunyili said, “Today (Wednesday) is my last briefing in my capacity as Information and Communications minister.

“I am resigning from the Cabinet tomorrow (today), 16th of December, 2010. I have decided to join my governor on the platform of APGA . I intend to pick up the form today (Wednesday).

“Maku is now the substantive Minister of Information and Communications.”

Commenting on the development, Maku disclosed that Jonathan was “reluctant” to let Akunyili leave the cabinet.

“The President reluctantly accepted the resignation from her,” he said, adding that Akunyili had over the years made her mark in public service, from her stint as the D-G of NAFDAC.

APGA is the party in power in Anambra State, and Akunyili had been reportedly assured of the support of Governor Peter Obi towards the realisation of her senatorial ambition.

Akunyili had hinted of her alliance with Obi when she told journalists in Abuja recently that she would be joining her governor (Obi) on the platform of APGA.

Akunyili, later visited the APGA headquarters in Abuja, where she paid N3.5m for the nomination form.

She said her decision to quit her ministerial position, which she described as a ‘comfort zone,’ was to give her people the opportunity to enjoy good governance.

Akunyili said, “They will, for the first time, enjoy their child in the Senate, not just in the area of representation but also in the area of ensuring that they always get their dues from the Federal Government.

“Living in the comfort zone, a minister in Nigeria, has as much clout as a President in any other West African country. So it was not an easy thing for me to resign.

“But I have looked into the future prayerfully, and felt very strongly that if it is the will of God that I get this senatorial seat, I will be able to serve this country and my people at a higher level. That is what I meant by comfort zone, I am not referring to the PDP; I was referring to my job.”

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