Editor’s note: Evaristus Douglas, a public affairs analyst, shares his views on why the morality shouldn’t allow President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Rotimi Amaechi, the former governor of Rivers state, as one of his ministers.
An equally elaborate image laundering scheme for Mr Amaechi
One does not have to be super-intelligent to recognize that the elaborate social reception held in honour of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, former governor of Rivers state, at the Abuja International Conference Centre on Sunday, August 2, is part of an equally elaborate image laundering scheme for Mr Amaechi.
The calibre of guests was A-List: Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Aisha, wife of President Muhammadu Buhari; Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC); serving and former state governors, including Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna; leading political members of the APC, and a host of others.
The sentiments heaped on Amaechi that night were effusive, with Vice President Osinbajo describing the guest of honour as a person worthy of emulation.
Others eulogized the former Rivers governor for the role he played in ensuring victory for the APC at the last general elections, especially the presidential polls.
Amaechi’s role in Buhari’s victory
Rotimi Amaechi was director general of the Buhari campaign organisation, a position he got after he was apparently passed over as nominee for vice presidential candidate. But amid the flow of eulogies, no one could satisfactorily explain, or justify, why such a galaxy of VIP guests were out to dine and wine in honour of Amaechi.
The APC had long since celebrated its landmark electoral victory, and President Buhari is inching towards his first 100 Days in office, although with an approval rating that is a far cry from the euphoria that swept him to power.
Before he left office as governor on May 29, Amaechi had also staged a book launch in Lagos, to celebrate his tenure as Rivers governor. The Lagos event was equally well attended with the usual partisan crowd.
How Amaechi garner support for his ministerial nomination
However, on August 2, Amaechi did not disappoint in inadvertently disclosing the rationale for the social reception hosted in his honour in Abuja. It was to muster support as a counter measure to any move intended to block his nomination for a Federal appointment.
If other APC stalwarts in the other 35 states were to be hosted to similar ostentatious receptions, to garner support for their ministerial nomination, the cost would be enormous, and the very idea itself offensive to decency.
It is worrisome that, while the Buhari administration is trying to enunciate a regime of frugality, some persons are spending lavishly, to polish Amaechi’s image.
As has been his wont in the past couple of years, Amaechi, at the reception, disparaged immediate past president Goodluck Jonathan, dropping the innuendo of suspected graft in the high claims for fuel subsidy during Jonathan’s administration.
Several dimensions of the ex-governor of Rivers state
Amaechi also went after his successor as Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike. “May God not give me the kind of ambition of Nyesom Wike; he can sell anybody,” Amaechi was reported as saying, as evidenced by the news report at p.5 of The Nation newspaper of Tuesday, August 4, 2015.
Amaechi further said: “Let me tell you what is currently going on in Rivers State. The governor and PDP are afraid of me getting an appointment to the national (Federal) Executive Council because that will determine what the politics of Rivers State will be. And they know that the current President abhors corruption and the only way they can stop me from getting the appointment is to paint me with corruption. And the people that know me in Rivers State know that I don’t like money…And I expect them to defend me that I don’t like money.
Pray, what evidence is available that since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic rule, the politics of Rivers state has been determined by whoever was minister from the state? When Amaechi himself became governor in 2007, what role, if any, did the minister from the state play? While Amaechi was governor in his second term, Nyesom Wike was a member of the Federal Executive Council.
Was Amaechi scared of Wike as minister? At least, the impression created by his frequent vituperations is that Amaechi is a fearless lion.
Why would Wike be scared of Amaechi being a minister, or other appointee of the federal government? Those present at the Abuja reception for Amaechi probably see only one dimension of the man. Rivers people see several dimensions.
In the twilight of his eight-year rule as governor, Amaechi took on the unusual role of DG of the Buhari campaign organisation, which meant that Amaechi abandoned governance at the state level.
It is indeed a commonly held view that if Buhari is really serious in fighting corruption, he must begin with those who assisted him to power, particularly the money-bags who came with funds from yet-to-be-disclosed sources.
Read the rest at The Opinion
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