Lagos – There is pressure on President Muhammadu Buhari to drop Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, as Director-General of his 2019 campaign, Daily Independent has learnt.
A presidency source, who spoke with our correspondent last week, said those behind the move were power-brokers in the presidency, governors in the party, high-ranking members in the National Assembly and other stakeholders loyal to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who is also the head of the party’s reconciliation team.
Our source said those canvassing for Amaechi’s replacement are of the opinion that he could no longer occupy the position since the structure of the party had changed following the recently held national convention which produced Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State, as the party’s national chairman.
He also said the stakeholders were of the opinion that Amaechi was no longer fit to occupy the position since Rivers APC where he was the leader was enmeshed in a crisis that had defied all solutions.
Speaking further, our source added that those who wanted Amaechi out also argued that the position should be occupied by a serving governor who can mobilise his colleagues (APC governors) to deliver their states to the president.
While our source could not confirm earlier reports of a meeting between Tinubu and Amaechi where the minister was allegedly asked to resign his appointment, he, however, denied some reports that Oshiomhole had sacked Amaechi as the DG, saying he lacked the powers to do so.
“Yes, I can confirm that since the conduct of the national convention, there is a clamour that Amaechi should be replaced as the DG.
“I don’t know the mind of the president but based on the calibre of people making the demands, he may yield to it in no distant time.
“Some of the proponents are asking that Amaechi should step down as the campaign DG to allow him focus on his work as minister.
“Others are also canvassing that the post be occupied by a serving state governor.
“I also know of others who said the minister can no longer occupy the position following the change of guards at the national level of the party.
“But some are also arguing that the Rivers APC under Amaechi’s leadership is in turmoil. He should be excused as DG so as to focus on his job as minister and put the Rivers APC in shape ahead of the 2019 election, to deliver the state, both in the governorship and presidential to APC in 2019.
“They believe that Amaechi is messing up the South-South and they are unable to relate with any of the governors, especially Wike, because of him.
“They believe that all these attacks on the Federal Government by Wike, alleging assassination and others is because of Amaechi.
“He believes Amaechi is enjoying presidential backing to make Rivers ungovernable for him,” the source said.
On the alleged meeting with Tinubu, he said, “I am not aware of any meeting of Amaechi with Tinubu, but I saw online reports that Oshiomhole has sacked him as DG.
“That is nothing but pure lie because the national chairman lacks such power to fire the president’s campaign DG.
“Only the president can appoint someone as the Director-General of his campaign and remove him if he wishes.
“However, based on Oshiomhole’s position as the national chairman, if indeed he is not disposed to Amaechi remaining as the Director- General, then it will be a matter of time before Amaechi is removed,” he said.
Although Amaechi did not reply to the text message sent to him by Daily Independent, one of his political aides admitted that Tinubu was the brain behind the plot to get him ousted as the campaign DG.
He said: “I am aware of the plot but all the reasons they have advanced so far do not hold water.
“Tinubu is the one orchestrating everything. Since he got on the same page with President Buhari, he has been arrogating lots of power to himself but I believe he is pushing his luck too far. Time will definitely tell.
“President Buhari knows Rt. Hon Chibuike Amaechi as a savvy politician who always delivers on any task assigned to him.
“He did that in 2015 even against a sitting government and succeeded and that is why the president has found him worthy of continuing as his DG in 2019. Why others want him out to advance their selfish gains is what I can’t understand,” he said.
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