Rotimi Amaechi might emerge as the new Chief Of Staff
As politicians jostle for the vacant position of Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari following the sad death of Mallam Abba Kyari, the erstwhile occupier of the position, many names have suddenly cropped up as those who will likely get the plum job.
One person who is not even mentioned and considered by many Nigerians as an outsider but may likely be favoured for the top post is the current Minister for Transportation, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi.
When mentioned, the name Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi evokes different things to different Nigerians. As a former two-time speaker and governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi has had a pretty hard-fought political history. His emergence as the governor of Rivers state was only made possible through the pronouncement of the Supreme Court after a fierce legal battle with his opponents.
With an arguably cult-like following in Rivers State, Amaechi’s political machinery will later be tested when he fell out with the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
His battle with President Jonathan naturally pitched him with his kinsmen in the Niger Delta who felt his decision as governor of the oil-rich Rivers State not to support the reelection of a son of the area for the presidency was unforgivable and an act of betrayal.
His position as the Director-General of the Buhari-Osibanjo Campaign Organisation further swelled his enemies from within the ranks of the opposition but somewhat catapulted him as at then, as the new face of his party, the All Progressive Congress (APC), which soon took over power.
One of his many political regrets will be his inability to install his then preferred candidate, Dakuku Peterside as his successor in Rivers State. Stripped of his military and security might, Amaechi could not muster enough forces and succumbed to defeat in the hands of the current governor Wike and President Jonathan for the governorship seat.
Amaechi’s appointment in the Buhari’s government was expected given the many sacrifices he made to install the government. Before he was made the Minister of Transportation, many had already tipped him as the new Secretary to the Government or the President’s Chief of Staff. That was not to be as the now ousted Babachir Lawal and Abba Kyari respectively were instead appointed.
Since his emergence as the Transport Minister, the former governor has somewhat enhanced his profile among his friends and foes alike given the transformational leadership he has brought to the railway transport sector.
It is believed that the Buhari’s administration achievements in the rail sector such as rail lines from Abuja- Kaduna, Itakpe-Warri, Lagos-Abeokuta-Ibadan owes much to the efforts of Mr. Amaechi’s administrative capability.
Given President Buhari’s antecedents, he will likely appoint someone he has known for a while and with an unblemished record in public service. In putting one and two together, analysts contend that Amaechi might just be Buhari’s man for the top job.
The chances of the former governor clinching the job are many. One of which is his profile as an incorruptible politician. Amaechi had always told those who dared to listen that he is not corrupt and does not like money and challenged those who think otherwise to produce the records against him.
In an interview with Channels TV in 2017, he specifically said, “I have told Nigerians and I repeat today that I am not corrupt and that I don’t like money. I am not one swayed by money. I have lived a character that most Nigerians can tell you. I try as much as possible not to annoy God by saying I am honest but with all modesty, I am an honest Nigerian, and there are very few honest Nigerians”, he said.
Amaechi insisted in the interview that if he was corrupt he would have been implicated by the then Goodluck Jonathan administration as their fight lasted for two years.
Another factor that could sway in Amaechi’s favour is his many achievements while as governor. His achievement