Anxiety Over Fashola, Amaechi’s Fate In Buhari’s Cabinet | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Anxiety Over Fashola, Amaechi’s Fate In Buhari’s Cabinet

Posted: Sep 17, 2015 at 12:35 am   /   by   /   comments (3)

By Ejikeme Omenazu


As the September ending deadline given by President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of his ministers beckons, anxiety is mounting among the supporters of  former governor of Lagos, Babatunde  Raji  Fashola  (SAN)  and immediate past governor of Rivers state, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi  over their fate. The two All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains were among those who worked very hard to ensure the victory of the party, especially during the presidential election.

It is indeed the wish of a good number of Nigerians that given their visible achievements and performance in office, their positions in the party and loyalty to the president and the party, Fashola and Amaechi should be among those to be enlisted for ministerial positions.

Already names of some prominent Nigerians like the radical lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), Prof Pat Utomi and Festus Odimegwu,  Wale Edun among others, are being peddled in the media as having been submitted to the Department of State Security (DSS) for screening. So far, no mention has been made of Fashola and Amaechi. Some even alleged the duo both failed the integrity test conducted by the security agents.

Amaechi, for instance, had been very visible within Buhari’s circle since the inception of the administration and many thought that his appointment as a minister was a fait accompli.

On his part, Fashola, the erstwhile action governor of Lagos State, recorded very good achievements during his eight-year tenure and many had thought that such a cerebral administrator and legal luminary should be uppermost in Buhari’s agenda of changing the lives and fortunes of the citizens and the nation.

What must have happened? Where did these loyal politicians of APC stock go wrong having shown a lot of commitment to the ideals and policies of the party and those of the president?

Buhari has all along insisted that he would not work with people who had skeletons in their cupboards or who have integrity questions. He has consistently maintained that he planned to run a corruption-free administration; hence he has been taking his time to pick his ministers. It was rumoured that out of a long list of people he submitted to security agents for integrity checks, only a few scaled though without dark spots. Many were said to be tainted with the deadly corruption viruses.

However, Fashola and Amaechi have been having tough times in their respective states this season. For Fashola, his execution of some projects has been called to question.  A civil society group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) , has written a petition to the presidency, urging the president not to consider Fashola for appointment, saying his  administration was engulfed in several controversies which could not be overlooked.

While that was going on, the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency posted a report on its website stating that N78.3m was paid to a firm, Info Access Plus Limited, for the upgrade of Fashola’s website  through the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor. All the efforts Fashola  has been making to extricate himself from these allegations do not seem to be catching up, especially with the alleged release of some facts against him by the Lagos State government and the reported discontent by the National Leader of APC, and his predecessor in office, Bola Tinubu, who singularly made him a governor. Tinubu has however denied having a hand in whatever fate is befalling his successor.

Observers of this intriguing situation point to the absence of Tinubu and other prominent APC leaders as well as the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, from the recent presentation of books by Fashola.

Fashola, who said he believed that the alleged indictment by his detractors were aimed at preventing him from getting an appointment from Buhari, however said having served Lagos State meritoriously for 12 years, he is not looking for a job but enjoying his well-deserved rest.

In case of Amaechi, he has been having a running battle with the Nyesom Wike administration over how he (Amaechi) ran the Rivers State government during his tenure. Wike has already set up an investigation panel to probe the Amaechi administration and some of the information emanating from the panel are not pleasing enough to the ears. For instance, it was alleged that Amaechi spent billion of money on a non-existent hospital project. Wike had also told the Rivers people that he met an empty treasury, accusing his predecessor of massive looting of the people’s patrimony.

With all these accusations against Wike who many thought had been very close to Buhari, it will be very difficult for him to make the much awaited president’s ministerial list. Thus, his supporters have genuine fears and worries over the non-mention of Amaechi so far as the president puts finishing touches to his ministerial list.

Buhari seems to be alluding to Amaechi and Fashola when he said recently that some people he wished to be in his cabinet have some corrupt allegations and integrity issues in their states. The time Fashola and Amaechi’s detractors chose to spread these banana peels meant to bring then down politically is really not in their favour if they are to clear themselves as the September deadline given by the president to name his ministers knocks at the door.

Besides, Buhari’s anti-corruption posture, as he is known, will not allow him to shift ground to include Fashola and Amaechi, even if he would have wished to considering their status in the party and efforts towards his election victory. He would not like to give a wrong signal that he shas caved in to pressure or is eating his words as far as the war against corruption is concerned.

However, Nigerians will not have to wait for long to see how this will play out. Already a lot of pressure is being mounted on the president to name his ministers, which is not coming too early considering that he will be spending four months in office by September ending.

Even the Senate, which will screen and approve the president’s list of the nominees for ministerial positions have at several occasions indicated that they are waiting for Buhari to forward the list to them, promising that it will be given fast consideration.

As it stands, Amaechi and Fashola may have to carry on with their private lives outside Buhari’s government. But, how peaceful they will do so may be determined by how strong the allegations against them are and if they can prove that they are indeed innocent.

If indeed the allegations against Fashola and Amaechi are strong enough, these two APC chieftains may have to keep very long dates with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to extricate themselves. They will indeed have an uphill task of clearing their name, which could be rubbished by these allegations being amplified by their detractors.

Nigerians are indeed waiting and watching how this will play out in few days time. Will these two gentlemen come out of this messy situation with their heads  up? Or will they sink with it into political oblivion? Only time will tell.

Comments (3)

  • Sep 24, 2015 at 6:47 pm Ayodeji Olatoregun

    God knows the true worshipers.

  • Sep 18, 2015 at 12:06 am mike

    You never knew they were corrupt until after using their state monies to fund ur election..Buhari hasnt come clean yet..Come clean with Tinubu, atiku, OBJ and ur northern millitary ex leaders..Can someone google this : Nigerian pres’ Svengali..

  • Sep 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm Emiko

    They don’t need to be made Ministers, they can be made Ambassadors for Nigeria Chikenah!!!

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