By Dapo Akinrefon
When President Muhammadu Buhari directed all members of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, running for elective offices in the 2023 general elections and have obtained nomination forms to submit their letters of resignation on or before Monday May 16, 2022, many of the ministers, having weighed their chances and believing they have slim chances of emerging victorious at the polls, quickly withdrew their bids and chose to keep their positions.
However, that was not the case with the former Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi who is seeking to succeed President Buhari on May 29, 2023. Amaechi, who is the Dan Amanar Daura, complied with the directives of the president and officially resigned from office on May 16, 2022.
In his resignation letter, Amaechi, who was Director-General of the Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2015 and 2019, expressed profound gratitude to the President for considering him fit to serve in his administration. He equally thanked Buhari for the enormous support given to him, which he said, was responsible for the tremendous record of achievements he made in the Ministry of Transportation over the last seven years.
Amaechi had said: “It is with mixed feelings that I tender my resignation as the Minister of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to contest for the Presidential ticket of our great party, the All Progressives Congress.
“Your Excellency, it has been a great honour and privilege serving as a member of your cabinet following your historic victory at the polls in 2015. Under your administration, the Ministry of Transportation has recorded significant achievements, made possible by your visionary support and commitment to ensuring that we deliver on our mandate.
“As I embark on the next phase of our mission to work towards a better Nigeria for all Nigerians, I humbly seek Your Excellency’s prayers, blessings and look towards to your continuous support and guidance.
“Your Excellency, whilst humbly seeking your kind consideration of my request please accept the assurances of my highest esteem.
Given his role he played in the emergence of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as Nigeria’s ruling party in 2015, many political analysts believed that Amaechi is themost qualified among those aspiring to secure the ticket of the APC for the 2023 presidential election.”
Amaechi’s zeal and energy
To others, he is widely reckoned as the best performing minister in President Buhari’s cabinet owing to the kind of zeal and energy with which he carried on in his revolutionisation of the transport sector, especially in the rail system.
All the agencies under his direct supervision – Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, Nigeria Port Authority, NPA, Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, etc, have been remarkably transformed and repositioned for better performance and greater efficiency in their operations.
To those following the activities of the presidential aspirants so far, Amaechi has shown to be a force to be reckoned with in the campaign for APC ticket. He has everything going for him in terms of age (57 years in 2023) , experience, religion, power shift agitation and other factors that will shape the presidential race especially in the ruling party. His loyalists strongly believe that he has the most useful experience in governance and government, after spending unbroken 23 years in power.
Amaechi I know is fearless, efficient, hands-on, competent, God-fearing and compassionate – Udoh
Speaking on Amaechi’s chances, a lawyer, rights activist and public affairs analyst, Udoh Sunday said: “Amaechi’s chances in the forthcoming APC primary is as bright as the morning star. Although underrated in some quarters, his understanding of palace politics, has become evident, especially, after the APC convention. His rise from nowhere to where he is, is divine and cannot be thrown away. He is a national asset.
“With the role played in the emergence of Buhari as president in 2015 and 2019, not leaving anything to chance and at personal risk, he has earned absolute trust of the north across the board. His title, Dan Amanar Daura, is a testament. I won’t be surprised if he is the anointed candidate of the president.
“The Amaechi I know is fearless, efficient, hands-on, competent, God-fearing and compassionate. He is a true Nigerian and extremely unbiased when the issue is Nigeria. He has all it takes to address Nigeria’s most disturbing challenge, which is insecurity. He set an example in Rivers when he was governor and can repeat same in Nigeria if elected as president in 2023. A vote for Amaechi is a vote for a new thinking towards a new Nigeria.”
He has most visibility to unify Nigeria – Youth leader
Also speaking, Abiodun Sanya, one of the youth leaders of the Amaechi for President Campaign said: “Amaechi is that one candidate with the most visibility to unify Nigeria, showing staggering understanding of the dynamics of her fault lines. If addressing the concerns that bind Nigerians together is genuinely a desire of all, then, experience cannot be overemphasised and Amaechi is number one here. Amaechi typifies the story of the average Nigerian and one that everyone can relate to and he is the president Nigeria needs at this time in her national life.”
Why I’m supporting aamaechi – Buratai
One of the prominent Northerners who has been the arrowheads of the Amaechi campaign is a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai who is now Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Benin.
Speaking while addressing delegates of the APC in Bauchi, last week, Buratai stated that he was spurred to give his support to Amaechi due to the minister’s profile and experience in governance.
He said, “You can see from the introduction, the experience of our Presidential aspirant. The profile of Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is quite intimidating. He has proven to be a sound administrator, a versatile leader, a good strategist and a politician per excellence, who has shown good qualities in all areas he had worked.
“As Speaker, as Governor, as Minister and also first among equals during his tenure as Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, as well as the dexterity and the quality of the campaign (for President Buhari) that he led on two occasions. That is why I am giving him my full support”.
“He did that diligently with all his determination, loyalty and of course with love for Nigeria and love for humanity irrespective of what religion you belong to. This is quite commendable, that’s why he’s here today to solicit your votes. From what you have heard about him, I believe you know that he’s the man of the moment. He is the right choice. So, I urge you to make the right choice and vote for him.”
Also, leaders and members of the APC, under the aegis of North Central APC Forum, have thrown their weight behind Amaechi’s presidential aspiration, saying he is the most qualified person to succeed President Buhari.
Its chairman, Saleh Mandung Zazzaga, reiterated the support and commitment of the forum to Amaechi’s presidential bid in Jos, the Plateau State capital.
Zazzaga said the forum’s decision to support Amaechi’s ambition was spurred by his exceptional abilities which he would use to move the country to next level if elected president.
He said Amaechi is a detribalised Nigerian and a friend of all the regions in the country, saying someone like him was needed at this time in the country’s history.
He called on political party leaders and the electorates to always support a man who will unite the country, improve security, boost the economy and revitalize all the key sectors of the nation.
According to him, the forum’s decision to support Amaechi’s ambition was spurred by his exceptional abilities which he would use to move the country to next level if elected president.
Speaking further, he said having studied all APC presidential aspirants, they have concluded that only Amaechi has what it takes to replace President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
“Even though our initial quest was to ensure that someone from the region emerges as the next president, but now, it may be impossible, particularly from our party (APC) perspective with the emergence of the party national chairman from the region and the zoning of the presidency to the south.
“But having carefully studied the presidential aspirants from our party, we have decided to settle for Amaechi because of his quality and strength of character”.
“His achievements are laudable and generally beneficial to the people. That is why we have decided to give our support to him as the next and right person to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari come 2023.”
He has paid his dues – Southern States Youths Coalition
Similarly, in the Southern part of the country, a coalition of 13 socio-political groups, drawn from the South-South and Southeastern Nigeria also declared support for Amaechi’s bid to become the next President of Nigeria in 2023.
Rising from their extraordinary general meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, the youths, under the aegis of Southern States Youths Coalition, SSYC, condemned series of blackmail against the Minister, noting that such debased action against the former Rivers governor is the handiwork of political jobbers.
“As far as state and national politics are concerned, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has paid his dues and the records of his achievements are there in Rivers and at the centre, where he had been acquitted himself so well so many accolades and awards to his efforts”, the groups noted.