ABUJA NIGERIA. Four years ago in 2014 Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi sat at the apex of the Muhammadu Buhari campaign as director-general. It was the first time in four presidential campaigns that Buhari would have a southerner manage his campaign. And it worked. Four years on, Amaechi was again picked as the campaign manager, but has now been substantially relegated in the perking order with the appointment of at least five other persons ahead of him in the presidential campaign council.
In the pecking order rolled out by the president, Buhari and Tinubu are on top as co-chairmen of the campaign with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and All Progressives Congress, APC national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole as deputy chairmen. Another Tinubu stalwart, Senator George Akume is to act as deputy national chairman (north) while Senator Ken Nnamani is to act as deputy national chairman, (South) with, Amaechi next as director general in that order.
President Muhammadu Buhari himself gave notice of the development last Monday when he inaugurated the Presidential Campaign Council, PCC as he removed doubts as to Amaechi’s relegation in the scheme of things in the presidential campaign.
Under the guise not allowing his campaign for a second term interfere with his present job as president of the country, Buhari had said: “I must also add that, though we will all be deeply involved, I would like to assure the nation that I will do my part without making governance or my work suffer.
“Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my co-chairman, will be fully in charge, and is going to be on 24-hour vigil.’’
Buhari’s assertion of Tinubu’s primacy of place in the campaign was against the earlier disclosure by the president that Rotimi Amaechi would serve as director-general of the campaign.
Amaechi was appointed at a time that Tinubu was largely excluded from the president’s re-election plans. Indeed, at the beginning of 2018, Tinubu had taken a feisty attack at the policies of the Buhari administration.
Amaechi’s ascendancy has also been challenged in his local fiefdom in the South-South. Unlike four years ago when he was the unquestioned leader of the party who subsequently made the major appointments from the region. The emergence of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as national chairman and the defection of Senator Godswill Akpabio has lately diluted his dominance.
But that was then. Amaechi’s seeming relegation also coincided with the recent circulation of an audio tape in which the former governor was perceived to have been critical of his principal, Buhari.
It has now been alleged that the audio was released by PDP partisans. In the audio Amaechi is severally alleged to have criticized Buhari’s performance and also flayed the performance of the party in Lagos State.
So when Tinubu emerged on top of Amaechi in the pecking order in the persidential campaign council it was not surprising that some political actors would trace the development to the audio tapes. The Amaechi camp while rubbishing the tapes, however, say that the appointment of Tinubu had nothing to do with the tapes.
“The audio tapes are not related to it. The campaign council was announced well ahead of the revelation of the audio tape, and in fact, the audio tape did not make much sense in that they did not play everything. Why did they not play everything, just patching one side to the other.”
Meanwhile in the face of the seeming embarrassments that Amaechi is now laying at the feet of alleged blackmailers, H.E. Atiku Abubakar the PDP presidential candidate has invited the minister of transportation to come over to the PDP.