By Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN
After all the drama characterising the screening of those who are to work with President Muhammadu Buhari as ministers, the Nigerian senate in performing its constitutionally-assigned duty cleared all those nominated. Though, legally speaking, we might conclude it is a forgone conclusion about the screening, the dusts raised by the exercise, especially with the screening and confirmation of the immediate past former Rivers state governor, Rotimi Amaechi, is still with us!
Before the ministerial list was officially announced, the social and traditional media were filled with rumours of Amaechi been “used and dumbed” by “Hausa/Fulani cabal” having worked tirelessly for the emergence of the present administration. In fact, the ethnic juggernauts and tribalistic harlots amongst us have done their utmost to on the one hand prevent Amaechi from becoming minister while on the other hand praying earnestly for his appointment so as to serve as a propaganda tool to blackmail Buhari’s anti-corruption stance. Their scripts were soon to be revealed soon after Amaechi was confirmed by the Nigerian senate with the senators elected on the platform of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) reportedly staging a walk out. My question then is: Can the PDP appoint ministers for President Buhari?
Many sophisticated Nigerians appear to have seen through the PDP’s antics. Most Nigerians probably know that their worst fear is that Amaechi, who is expected to hold a powerful position considering his role in the titanic 2015 election, will further sink party’s ship in its comfort zones. If they could not control him while he was governor under the PDP platform, how then could they control him if given a powerful postion in the All Progressives Congress (APC) government?
It is on record that Amaechi’s only offence against PDP was that he, against all odds, supported a Daura man from Katsina as President against “our son” from Otuoke. He is on record to have, as chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum(NGF) demanded that things be done properly and according to due process. The misappropriation of the Excess Crude Account(ECA) and other oil revenues under the President Jonathan administration which is still the subject of investigations, was a revelation of Amaechi’s NGF. The high chance of Amaechi’s protégé, Dr Dakuku Peterside, carrying the day at the re-run election can at best compound the party’s woes-hence he must be stopped whatever the costs!
The fact that Amaechi is a dogged fighter who hardly loses any battle scares the PDP even more than death. He, without having to solicit for votes won the River state Gubernatorial election in 2007 which can be better described as the beginning of the end of impunity in our history which the forces of reactions will never like to hear!
Need we say that if the history of the 2015 presidential elections were to be written today, Amaechi will be described as the David who conquered the Goliath Jonathan, by effectively ending the 16-year old PDP Empire? Can all these be why they fear him so much to have engaged in such a dance of shame on the floor of the senate?
Let me look at the issues a bit from PDP’s lenses. Amaechi is corrupt; a River state Government Panel has found him to have misappropriated some amount of money; the government “White Paper” is before the Senate and on the basis of this, Amaechi cannot be a Minister of the Federal Republic. One will only be left to wonder if the party suffers from amnesia. If not, how come they forget so soon?
I will address the question raised above latter. But let me still address, to the best of my ability, the question of whether Amaechi can be minister with the “White Paper”. As far as the laws of Nigeria are concerned, allegations remain allegations until proven otherwise. As far as the law is concerned, at the four corner of my room I can say for as long as I like that my step father stole public money, even going on the pages of newspapers to lay bare my allegations. Let us even say that I got my step dad arrested on the basis of my allegations, he was interrogated and later released for want of evidence. Does that make my step dad guilty just because some unpatriotic elements in the police got him arrested for an offence they hastily investigated?
Again, the PDP recites it like a nursery rhyme that none of its members is guilty of corruption until proven by a competent Court of Law. When the Buhari’s anti-corruption trail got to Diezani Alison-Madueke’s doorstep, the party was quick to shout “witch-hunting”(even though the witches now walk in the day time), but heaven must fall because a doctored “White Paper” says Amaechi Stole some money. If this is the case, I guess PDP’s situation then my best guess is either that the party is confused or ridiculously ignorant of the provisions of the law. Witches are only hunted when they are becoming a nuisance to the community, just as the farmer will not wait for the goats to finish the yams just because he thinks he will eat the yams as part of the goat’s meat!
Lest we forget, some months ago, a certain Musiliu Obanikoro was to be screened and confirmed minister in the teeth of protests from all APC senators, he was confirmed not minding the fact that all the three senators from Lagos, the state he was appointed to represent, opposed his nomination as the Senate Rules states. The PDP-controlled senate saw nothing wrong in appointing “Koro” as he is often called, screening and confirming him as minister even with a damning petition on his involvement in election rigging earlier in Ekiti. If there was nothing wrong in “Koro”, then nothing is with Amaechi’s nomination.
Close observers will also see the fact that PDP is appears not to know what it is afraid of. It, on one hand insists on “Federal Character” with one of its senators saying that the Senate will not approve Buhari’s ministers unless he appoints ministers from the 36 states; on the other hand it fears Amaechi’s appearance in the Cabinet could only spell doom for it. The walk out some of them staged could be best describes as a dance of shame!
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN, a political analyst and strategist, writes from Lagos.