By Gideon Njoku
Immediate past Minister for Transport, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, is sure to make the list of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet for the second time. This, inspite of the many controversies the former Minister got involved in.
One of such controversies was an alleged stinging criticism of the President by Amaechi which video went viral on the social media. But, by far, the most damning is the crises which engulfed the Rivers state branch of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and denied it the fielding of any candidate in the 2019 general elections, except the office of the President. Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe, his one time political associate, are jointly held responsible for the fate that befell the party in the stste.
Said a source:”Since the leadership of the Rivers APC by Amaechi, there has been no peace in the party, and it has lost every goodwill in the state. ”
But all that notwithstanding, Amaechi will make the cabinet.
Multiple sources within the Villa and the party leadership told this magazine that the President’s confidence in the former Minister is unshakable. “Of course, the President hears all the talks. He also heard them before he appointed him the Director General of his campaign office. How do you think the President would disgrace his DG who contributed so much, even financially, to his victory? That will be the height of ingratitude. If Amaechi does not make the cabinet, who else will make it in Rivers state? The question should be: which ministry?”
The assumption, however, is that he will go back to the transport ministry where the President thinks he is making an impact, slow as work in progress is in the critical areas of the transport ministry.
The same thing, cannot, however, be said of the former governor of Lagos state, Akinwunmi Ambode. The magazine was told that the forces which denied him of a second term in office as a governor, are all ready to stop his appointment as a minister.
When the President visited Lagos state just before Ambode’s exit as a governor to commission a couple of high profile projects, he was so impressed with Ambode that he made up his mind to accommodate him in his cabinet. The president we gathered was also in sympathy with Ambode over the way he lost a second term nomination. Aside from that, Ambode was a constant, almost, at the President’s campaign for a second term in office. Yet, unless the President puts his feet down, Ambode will lose out.
Unconfirmed sources insist that the powerful Lagos Mandate Group, loyal to former Governor of the state, and an APC chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, insists Ambode will not be a Minister. Their grouse is that he, allegedly, treated party and Lagos state stakeholders shabily during his tenure as governor. Said a source: “Even if the President nominates him, our three Senators will kick against it. Clearing him at the Senate will be difficult.”
But another source told us: ” The president is aware of all the political under-currents in Lagos, and will do his home work well before the announcement. Those against Ambode may be in for a shock”
Two weeks after the inauguration of the President, however, Nigerians are still waiting, with great expectations, his list of ministerial nominees. He is said to be keeping it close to his chest.
During his first tenure, it took him six months to assemble his cabinet. The prayers now are that it takes a shorter period, and that when he does, they will be better than his first set of ministers many of whom were so idle and incompetent they remained anonymous until the end of their tenure in office.