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ANALYSIS: Speculative Ministerial List And Amaechi, Fashola, Onu’s Dimension

Babatunde Fashola, Former Governor of Lagos state

By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Almost four weeks ago, my focus was on the strange treatment meted out to the immediate past Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) at the books launch authored by his aide, in his honour. In the piece, you would recall I articulated that such development (absence of many ruling party Chieftains) and the build up to it were most likely to affect subsequent events, as far as this government and his prospect are concerned. Then, Fashola was merely the focus, yet, there were other key names such as his counterpart; the undaunted and blunt former Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as well as the South east veteran politician, Chief Ogbonoya Onu, mentioned in the piece, especially with respect to how the instigated smearing campaigns against them by the fellow party men; their kinsmen and the opposition might have possibly informed the generally accepted lopsided first key appointment (personal aides) made by the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari.

What happened about a month ago is again rearing its head. After affirming last month that his Ministerial list would be made public this month, it is very obvious that Mr. President, given the developments at the Presidency and an arm of security agencies, in particular, the Department of State Services (DSS), is striving to make good his promise. The latest evidence to support this is the invitation by DSS of some personalities for meeting. This has subsequently prompted this week, what is now being referred to by the public, the Buhari’s Speculative Ministerial List.   

 Expectedly, Nigerians of various interest and backgrounds have since been expressing their thought on the matter. In as much as I personally have no grudges with those names that featured in the so called speculative list, I have consistently found it tasking to let go, the question: why names such as Fashola, Amaechi and Chief Onu are not featuring, as well as lack of indication that the trio are likely to be nominated? Just as I lamented previously, has the smearing by the opponents of these men wrecked the targeted damages and havocs to their political career? Has Buhari passion and interest in these men waned? Will it be really proper for Mr. President, base on the speculations that surround these men, to sideline and blank them out? Again, will it be right to posit that the Nigerian public offices have now become the right avenue to indict and nail the target prospective appointees (rightly or wrongly)? Despite the fact that the list still remains speculative, yet, if what eventually happens on the Minister nomination tallies with the hearsay still flying around and these men were shut out, on account of allegations (yet to be verified), I feel it might be in order to recall that Mr. President himself, was once accused of misconduct while he was the Executive Director at the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).

Despite the controversies which was followed by the declaration by former President  Olusegun Obasanjo that Buhari was not indicted by the report of investigations of the agency, Nigerians still sustain their trust in him, thus gave him the mandate to lead the country to the glory in the next four years.

Babatunde Fashola, Former Governor of Lagos state

Babatunde Fashola, Former Governor of Lagos state

Similarly, Fashola’s predecessor and the ruling APC National Chieftain, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu was also accused of sharp practices after leaving office. He subsequently appeared before the Code of Conduct Tribunal and in the end, the allegations could not sail through, apparently on want of merit.

The link in the two instances and men in question is that despite the allegations and counter, President Buhari and former Governor Tinubu still enjoyed the public goodwill, thus were allowed to forge ahead in their political ambition and aspirations. The point being made here is that both the President and Tinubu made headway amidst the spurious and unconfirmed accusations of misconducts against them while in the office. The question again is: Will it be proper for President Buhari to do away with names such as: Fashola, Amaechi and Onu despite the fact that he had also one time or the other found himself in similar situation like them now and taking into account their roles in the face of new governance in Nigeria; the last elections campaigns; consolidation as well as mobilization for membership of the ruling party in their respective States?

Here, I risk going into the genesis of the travails being faced by the three men. Former Governor Fashola’s robust relationship with Tinubu has for long crumbled even before his first tenure lapsed in 2011. His frosty relationship which in some cases was due to differences in approach to issues, regarding his former boss and in some instances, politicians’ tirades who were one time or the other felt abandoned and humiliated by him. Both Tinubu and Fashola kept giving impression that all was well, between them, but the close watchers knew very well that was a mere smoke-screen. The situation was so bad that Fashola’s second tenure was favored only by the public opinion. In other words, he would not have been allowed to go far, if his former boss and the politicians who were not happy with him and his approach had their ways!

Immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi

Immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi

As for Amaechi, the factors informing the image denting and torrent corruption allegations against him are very clear and quiet understandable. The man presently in charge of affairs in his State, who is addressed as the Caretaker Governor, Nyesom Wike, having realized his days are numbered on the seat he occupies, might probably not mind expending all possible and available resources in offensives against him, so as to deal decisively with his first political enemy – who he knows is the one in the forefront of the legal battle to route him out of the office, he forcefully and illegally occupied. In the Nigerian political context, you might probably contend and ask; what would you have done if in the Wike’s shoes? Well, the truth of the matter is that his many sophistries will not last and in the end; fail to serve the desirable purpose.    

  Therefore, in all, it could be concluded that while Fashola is facing the challenge of not blending very well with the perception and the way an average and typical Nigerian politician, (so deep in politicking) behave, as well as being too principle, Amaechi on his

own, can be considered to be a victim of regional or sectional politics. I feel the political tsunami the Ikwere-born he faced in the hands of his kinsmen, including the former First Lady; the immediate past President himself, who succeeded in using all the security agencies against him and his administration, surpassed the type Asiwaju Tinubu suffered in 2007 election, in the hands of former President Obasanjo. If it were possible, Amaechi’s opponents would have probably sent him to the grave as he appears too rebellious for their liking.

The revered South East astute politician’s case is not so different from Amaechi’s. No doubt, Chief Onu is also a victim of folks with clash of interest; he is a victim of a set of people who did not work for a course, yet wishing and struggling to benefit from the same. The prominent political figures in the South East Nigeria knew they worked against the ruling party in the last general polls, yet, working against the interest of one of them (Onu) who pit his tent with it and who is about to be properly and strategically positioned. It is a pity! Indeed, these are issues of serious concern and thorough assessment for President Buhari.

Finally, it is important and very key that Mr. President looks critically, independently and objectively on series of allegations leveled against the three fellow party men, before finally foreclosing considering them for strategic appointment in his government. Many Nigerians sustain their trust in him (Buhari) mainly and basically due to his aversion to corruption as well as his humble life style. Mr. President should must please be told that those behind the names calling and smear campaign, against the trio will soon recline, once their sinister goal is achieved. I therefore advocate that our President should not give up hope or get confused on the fate of these politicians. They have done very well and served their people wonderfully well in their respective previous political portfolios, therefore, should be allowed to contribute their quotas again, to the ongoing efforts and drives to put in place a new Nigeria.  

E-Mail: tjaysuccess10@gmail.com; Facebook: Tajudeen Balogun; Twitter: @tjaysuccess10


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