Buhari Compiles His Ministerial List As Amaechi Cries Out

By Suleiman Umaru

Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the government of the Federation , who  may have been retained by President Muhammadu Buhari  even when  the ministers and other members of the kitchen Cabinet relinquished their positions last April, has given an insight about  the ministerial list which had been compiled but says it would not  be delayed beyond next month before presentation to the National Assembly.

Presidency sources corroborated  Mustapha’s claim  that the presentation of  the ministerial list to the Assembly may have been delayed because  the  lawmakers  are on recess and would resume on July 2, 2019.  the situation may not have been helped  as the  Assembly members have not elected  their other principal officers particular, the All Progressive Congress, APC, which  commands majority in  both the Senate and the House of  Representatives.  Note that the party  will elect the Majority leaders in the two Chambers. There are indications that the President already has in mind who is  to be the party Majority leader in the two Chambers but want  the party elected Lawmakers to  participate in  choosing them for formality. Recall that the Presidency was instrumental in influencing the election  of the four Principal officers of the National Asembly: the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker House of Representatives to facilitate  easy passage of his Executive bills.

Going by the SSG’s . recent remarks  the President could not have transmitted the ministerial list to  Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President , without going  through the party Majority leader who is yet to emerge. It was learnt that the ministerial list has been sent to the anointed Candidate awaiting for an opportunity to introduce it as an Executive bill to the Senate President  for presentation on the floor of the Senate for plenary discussion.

Rotimi Amaechi: Former Minister Of Transportation

The Katsina born Nigerian president  do not foresee any difficulty in passing the Executive bill by the Senate because his loyalist are in-charge  in the National Assembly. Political watchers are optimistic that  the debate and confirmation of the ministerial list  will be concluded  in two weeks as the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, do not have  political weight to pose a threat  to the passage of the bill.

The  fear being expressed  in political circles is  that the President  who had kept the ministerial list close to his chest  may disappoint  many politicians who  had been lobbying  to be appointed ministers this time around. He may have given hint on June 12, 2019, being   Democracy Day  when he addressed the nation that he will” assemble competent  Nigerians to help him implement his programmes” an indication that technocrats would dominate the new Cabinet.

But he may have greatest challenge  in the party National Executive Committee, NEC. The Adams Oshiomhole led  NEC, according to sources , have resolved     that all  the  APC governors  who lost  their re-election bids  in their respective states  would ”automatically  become  the ministerial nominees of their states, a decision which is binding on the President as a loyal party member.

This may have qualified the likes of   Ambode Akinwumi, a former governor of Lagos State,  Mohammed Bindow, Adamawa and  Mohammed Abubakar who lost the last  governorship in Bauchi state to Bala Muhammed of the  PDP, to make the Cabinet list  which had been compiled  and ready for presentation to the Senate for Confirmation.

Akinwumi, the former Lagos state governor , who jetted out of the country  after handing over  to Sanwo-Olu,  his successor,  was said to have  returned to the country from France where he as holiday may not be unconnected to the ministerial appointment.

 He may have to contend  Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of  Lagos state and APC, National leader who sees him as a disloyal party member and therefore do not deserve to given any appointment

Political Observers are of the opinion that the President may brush aside the alleged Complaints of financial misappropriation against him in the state  as he was   impressed with his performance  in office going by the projects on ground which speaks for itself.

 Some of the multi-million naira projects were said to have been commissioned  by the President on the invitation of the former governor  last April. They are the reconstruction of  the Oshodi  International Airport Road, Oshodi Interchange , 820 mass transit buses, an ultra modern  Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist hospital located  within  the premises  of the Lagos state  University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja and the Eko  Theatre.

 Many believe  that Akinwumi, may have  used the projects to make a bold Statement  that he is ready to serve in any capacity  the President  may deem it necessary to appoint him to.  He may have known that he had lost face with Tinubu, his godfather and therefore could no longer  depend to fix  him up that he decide to deal directly with the President to showcase his achievements in office as a testimonial that he can deliver if given any opportunity  again. he may have   won the heart of the president after the visit to the state to Commission those multi-million naira projects.   

The President had made it clear to those that care to listen that only former ministers who  distinguished themselves in their fir first term in office would be recalled. Appearing on Channels Television shortly after  handing  over to the SSG, as directed by the President  had  said that his recall is at the discretion of the President. He had described himself as huge success in the ministry of Transportation in his first term as minister.

He may have created in the mind of the President  that he has some unfinished projects  which needed to be completed on schedule . He fears that if another person is appointed to replace him the projects might be delayed . One of such multi-million projects  is the construction of the rail line  from the ancient city of Ibadan, south west Nigeria to the ancient city of Kano, north west geo-political region.

Another project initiated by the government  which was been handled by the former minister  was the negotiation  for a loan facility  for the supply of rail Coaches  and Construction of rail lines  by the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CECC. We have applied for loan facility from China, he had said.

Analysts believe that the President may prefer to work with Amaechi, as ministerial nominee from the Oil Rivers  state  than see for another nomination from the state .

While Akiwumi, Bindow and Abubakar, are optimistic of getting appointment as ministers, Amaechi , the former governor of Rivers  state and ex-while minister of Transportation, believe that his political detractors are working against him  not to be recalled. he has raised of a heavily funded campaign of calumny  to smear his image before the President.

He noted that party of the smearing image campaign which he had uncovered  aims at dragging  and some members of his family  into the internal affairs of  the Niger Delta Development Commission, NNDC.  The former minister may have told those that cares to listen  that  he has never been involved in anyway, in the ”management and operations of  NNDC, an agency under the ministry of Niger Delta.

He was said to have reached out  to Mustapha, the SFG, who  incidentally worked under him as the former Managing Director of Inland Waterways Authority, an agency under the ministry of Transportation and Aisha Buhari, the First Lady , to use their position to make a case for him before President who has a soft spot for him as a loyal party member.  

Note that he was a two-time Director General of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation  in 2015 and 2019, which saw Buhari , emerging as President and Commander- in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  It is not surprising why the former minister still have at the back of his mind that the President is indebted to him as one of those who contributed to to his re-election.

 An APC Stalwart who spoke to The Value News described   Amaechi as ”power hungry   who is exploiting  his relationship with the  President to remain at the corridors  powers ”.  While Amaechi may be struggling to book a place in the new ministerial list, Hadi Seriki, a minister of State,  ministry of Transportation, overseeing Aviation and Abubakar Malami,a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN , and minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation,  could beat their chest  that they would be recalled by the President to serve for another term as ministers.

Regarded in political circles as a minister who does not keep to his words  because of the aborted ”Nigeria Air” which was launched with fanfare at an International Air  Show in July in 2018, to start Commercial flights last December.

The government may have spent  thousands of dollar to embark on promotions for the new air Nigeria. One of the promotional videos released  gushed ”now is the time to bring Nigeria  closer to the world”. But that was how far the minister could go.

Barely two months after  Buhari  gave the nod for launching of Air Nigeria, Seriki broke the news  that the the project may no longer  be a reality. He  had said  that it was a tough decision to be taken at the Federal  Executive Council, FEC, to suspend the project but gave no reason for the action. the initial plan was for the government to own 5 percent of the shares of the Airline in a public -Private sector partnership.

The former  minister may have played into the hand of travellers who described him as a” liar”.  He may have have work hard to win back the confidence of Nigerians if he is recalled  for another term as minister  otherwise  he should seeing himself working without the support of the people. This is because every policy pronouncement  from him will  be viewed with suspicion.

 Notwithstanding the impression of Nigerians towards the former minister of state,  Aviation,  Buhari, thinks differently about him as he was said penciled him  down for recall.

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