The Minister of Youths and Sports, Sunday Dare, has dropped his intention to run for the Oyo State governorship election in 2023, despite purchasing and submitting the N50 million nomination and expression of interest forms of the ruling party, All Progressives Congress.
Dare in a statement on Monday said he decided to abandon his political ambition and remain in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet “to have a long-lasting legacy” but top sources told SaharaReporters that the minister’s decision was a directive from Buhari.
The minister said he had thus rejected calls to contest for the Oyo State governorship or senatorial seat, saying “I want to serve out my term.”
SaharaReporters had last week reported that Dare purchased the N50million APC nomination forms to succeed Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2023 governorship poll.
But on Monday, Dare said, “The assignment given to me on behalf of the Nigerian people by President Muhammadu Buhari is a national and an important one for the development of our youth and sports. I have in the last three years committed to bringing about far-reaching changes in these areas.
“Noble initiatives and policies are about to be delivered in these sectors. It is my desire to stand down and assist Mr. President complete and to leave a lasting legacy in the areas of Youth and Sports Development for Nigeria.
“The APC equally has a Presidential election battle ahead to which I will make available my skills and experience like I did in 2014 and 2015 to help our party win the Presidency.”
But a top source revealed to SaharaReporters that the minister was only acting out Buhari’s directive.
“The Minister of Sports already collected the APC forms and even submitted them but then, he is lying in the press release. He met with Buhari on Monday and it was after that meeting that he came out with the statement,” the source said.
Dare hence joins the league of ministers who backtracked on their 2023 political ambitions and chose to remain in the Buhari’s cabinet.
Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment; Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs; Timipre Sylva, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, have since withdrawn their resignation letters and continued in office.