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Has Amaechi lost grip at power corridor as Peterside exits NIMASA?

No doubt, the ferocious approach with which former Rivers State governor and current Minister of Transportation, Chief Rotimi Amaechi swooped the entire South East and South-South in 2015 presidential election campaign against his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and that eraned him a juicy controlling position in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government from 2015.

One of the key advantages amongst other Amaechi gained from his intimidating and brushing election campaign voyage in both regions included the appointment slot of his ‘boy’, Dr Dakuku Peterside, who lost out in Rivers 2015 guber battle as the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

Aside the NIMASA slot, Amaechi was also named among the juicy senior ministers which is Ministry of Transportation.

However, his reappointment still as the Minister of Transportation but with the removal of Aviation from his control and the bringing of Ms Gbemi Saraki as Minister of State in charge of maritime, first clipped Amaechi’s wings and only limited him to issues of running up and down around Lagos-Ibadan standard rail project corridor.

Whereas analysts say the 2019 restructuring at the Ministry rather watered down his control and political value, the trending removal of his ‘boy’, the outgoing DG of NIMASA may rather be seen as the final blow to inform him that his political relevance may be close to losing presidential or cabal interest after all.

However, when approached on Thursday to comment on the appointment of the Kaduna State-born transport management expert, Mr Bashir Jamoh, rather than a second term for Dr Peterside, Minister declared that he was not aware of the removal of the Director-General of NIMASA.

While arguing that Peterside’s tenure is yet to expire as NIMASA DG on March 10, 2020, the Minister averred that “Until his tenure expires, that is when you can approach Mr President either to re-appoint or replace him. By law, the President has appointment authority, while the minister has the recommendation authority.

Amaechi 88
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi

Amaechi made it clear that “As the Minister of Transportation, I should know, the government does not take unilateral decisions. If he were to be sacked I should have been intimated of his sack, but I am not aware. Although his tenure expires Tuesday next week.”

The Minister distanced himself in responding to the question of if the alleged sack had anything to do with the National Assembly’s probe of the agency for failing to audit NIMASA’s account for the past six years.

According to him, “You said six years, he came into office in 2016 and that means he has been DG for four years. You cannot be punishing him for the offence committed by past DGs.”

The Minister argued that “I don’t think the news is right, I feel its mere speculation. They should wait until next Tuesday. As I said, the President has the authority to appoint whoever he wants to appoint and if he wants to extend his tenure he can do so.”