Akunyili resigns as minister •Joins APGA to contest senatorial seat •Maku now substantive Information Minister

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Written by Leon Usigbe and Christian Okeke, Abuja Thursday, 16 December 2010

MINISTER of Information and Communicati-ons, Professor Dora Akunyili, has resigned from the federal cabinet and has defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) where she hopes to contest for a seat in the Senate in next year's election.

She announced her decision to quit while briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, on Wednesday, in Abuja.

The Minister of State for Information and Communications, Mr Labaran Maku, has been elevated to substantive minister.

Akunyili, who was overwhelmed with emotion, said she was leaving the cabinet to provide service in another capacity.

According to her, ”having reflected over the years about events in Nigeria and, in particular, in my state, Anambra State, I have come to the conclusion that it is a defining moment in my life when I should make the sacrifice of leaving a comfortable place to go to a more difficult terrain in order to build a better place for Nigeria.

“I have, therefore, decided to join my governor, Mr Peter Obi, who is doing a great job in Anambra State, in continuing to build that state as an APGA candidate by the grace of God.

“In this regard, I intend to pick the nomination form today to run for the office of senator, representing Anambra Central senatorial district.

"As I take this step I ask for your prayer and unflinching support. I am deeply grateful for your cooperation and partnership without which I wouldn't have succeeded as Minister of Information and Communications.”

In his remarks, Maku said President Jonathan had accepted Akunyili's resignation with regrets.

Meanwhile Professor Akunyili, later on Wednesday, picked the form for a senatorial seat on the ticket of APGA to represent Anambra Central senatorial district in 2011 with a vow to bring about total, positive revolution to the Senate if elected.

Making it the first in the Jonathan’s cabinet to quit ahead of the 2011 general election, the minister, at the secretariat of the party after picking the form, said, “I am a very principled person; I don’t just do things anyhow,” but described her resignation from the FEC as “not an easy thing,” adding that it was an act that amounted to moving away from comfort zone.

She said she felt comfortable joining APGA, adding that upholding internal democracy and giving level playing field to all aspirants were what every decent person wanted.

Akunyili pledged to help in deepening democracy in the party, so that people would come from within and outside the country to copy its model.

Earlier, the national chairman of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, described APGA as “a great party, whose internal democratic structure was able to attract people of such quality as Akunyili.

He described Akun-yili’s resignation as a shock, but said the party was excited to have the former minister in the party.

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