Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, has announced his withdrawal from the 2023 presidential race.
The minister said he took the “momentous decision” in the interest of the nation and to enable him to concentrate on his job.
Ngige was one of the presidential hopefuls of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
His withdrawal comes less than two days after President Muhammadu Buhari directed all members of his cabinet seeking elective offices in the 2023 elections to resign on or before May 16.
The labour and employment minister was one of the cabinet members present at the valedictory session.
Announcing his resignation in a statement he personally signed, the minister said: “Today, 13th May 2022, I had an audience with the president, Muhammadu Buhari, as a follow up to the one I earlier had with him on 11th May 2022.
“Having also consulted widely with my family, constituents, supporters and well-wishers, it is my pleasure to announce the withdrawal of my interest and earlier decision to contest the office of the president in the 2023 general election.
“As a result of this, I will NOT be participating in any of the internal party processes of the said election, starting with the primary.”
Ngige said he chose to pull out of the race to assist the president and the federal government to “weather the difficult last lap” of the administration.
The minister also cited family reasons as part of the motivation to no longer pursue his ambition.
Ngige added that he has communicated his decision to the president and Boss Mustapha, the secretary to the government of the federation (SGF).
He said although he has received the expression of interest/nomination forms from his supporters, they are yet to be filled and submitted.