…Says ex Lagos Governor’s Elusive Misadventure Makes it Easier for Amaechi to Clinch the APC Ticket
…Highlights Amaechi’s Inputs in the Presidency of Buhari in His Recent Book on the former Rivers Governor.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New People’s Democratic Party (nPDP), Chief Eze Chukwumeka Eze has described claims by Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu, that he singlehandedly made General Muhammadu Buhari the President of Nigeria, crowned Osinbanjo Vice President and enthroned Abiodun Governor of Ogun State, as shocking and least expected of a leader of his calibre.
In a statement made available to media houses in Abuja, Chief Eze said the former Lagos Governor is notorious for ascribing to himself the status of an ‘alpha and omega’ without whom nothing that is existing would have existed and without whose political omnipotence, no one from the east, west, north or south of Nigeria would emerge to lead or represent a people in even a state legislative arm.
The party Chief said Tinubu’s revelation of his inner-self outrightly contradicts and demolishes his claims of being a democrat as his outburst represents the antithesis of democracy and goes to the root of what a desperate fame seeker can do in the pursuit of transient power.
Excerpt from ThisDay Newspaper of 3rd June 2022 captures the scintilla of Tinubu’s frustration thus “In a clear sign of desperation and fear that the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) might be slipping from his grasp, presidential hopeful and former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, yesterday, declared, unequivocally, that he made Muhammadu Buhari President of Nigeria, nominated Professor Yemi Osinbajo as his running mate, and got Mr Dapo Abiodun elected as Governor of Ogun State.
Tinubu insisted it was his turn to be president. Analysts are of the view that Tinubu may have decided to go for broke, after sensing he may be losing the opportunity to achieve his ‘lifelong ambition’ to be president of Nigeria.
“The outburst in Abeokuta today is a sign of frustration with the refusal of President Buhari to endorse him publicly. Significantly, he said what he said in the home state of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, another frontline contender for the APC ticket”, an observer who pleaded anonymity noted.
Eze quoted Tinubu as saying, “If not for me talking to you today, Buhari would not have been president. It is over 25 years that I have been serving them. This one sitting behind me, Dapo Abiodun, could not become the governor without me.
“This is me telling you between my life and God Almighty, Buhari called me to be his vice president. He said because the first time he contested, he picked Okadigbo, flamboyant, Catholic, but Nigerians didn’t vote for him.
“The second time, he picked another Igbo, Ume Ezeoke, Nigerians didn’t vote for him; that if he goes to bring the Pope to run as his vice, Nigerians won’t vote for him, but you, Bola Tinubu, you have six governors, you have never lost an election before, come and be my vice.
“He knew all the calculations then favoured us, that was why he wanted me as his vice, but I told him to let us build the party first. And when we finished building the party after we brought in people from the PDP, Saraki now saw that those from the PDP will not get anything if Buhari, a Muslim, becomes the president and me, also a Muslim, becomes his vice, he won’t get the senate president and the senate president cannot also be a Muslim, that was how they started the campaign of calumny against me.
“And I told them that I have a candidate that is a Christian that I can nominate so that the party will not break, that was how I nominated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. I surrendered my right to him (Osinbajo).
“I was asked to submit three names: Yemi Cardozo, Wale Edun, and Yemi Osinbajo, but I said that if I submitted three names, it is like opening your door to a thief. They may add the fourth name and choose that one. So, I insisted on only one name. You are hearing this thing from me for the first time.
“It is my time. I’m educated, I’m experienced. I have been serving you for a long time, bring me the presidency, it is my turn. When Atiku was being flogged out of the PDP by Obasanjo, he ran to me for help, I got the ticket for him. Nuhu Ribadu came to me and I backed him.
“It has been over 25 years now that I have been serving them.
This one sitting behind me, Dapo, can he say he can be the governor without me? We were together at the MKO Abiola Stadium, he was intimidated, they didn’t want to give him the party’s flag. I was the one that handed the flag to him. He knows that he cannot be the governor without the help of God and my support.
“If not for me that stood behind Buhari, he wouldn’t have become the president. He tried the first time, he failed, the second time, he failed, the third time, he failed. He even wept on national television and vowed never to contest again but I went to meet him in Kaduna and told him he will run again; I will stand by you and you will win, but you must not joke with Yorubas and he agreed.
Throwing more light on how General Buhari became President after three failed attempts, Eze quoted from his recent book on Amaechi Chapter 15 titled, “THE MAKING OF BUHARI” S PRESIDENCY”
The PDP had won every national election since the end of military rule in 1999 but this came to an abrupt end when Amaechi joined the opposition political party and this marked the making of the Buhari’s Presidency.
The fact remains that when it comes to believing in the abilities of President Buhari, I am yet to see anyone who can rival Amaechi. His belief in Buhari and strong belief in his ability to take Nigeria out of the woods is like an obsession.
“I can still vividly remember how Amaechi predicted Buhari’s emergence as president during the early days of APC and long before the issue of who would fly the party’s flag came up. When on 9th September 2013 my appointment as the National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party was announced to Nigerians, the only brief I received was the 30-minute encounter I had with Governor Amaechi. During that encounter, he kept repeating that whenever Gen Buhari (rtd) accept to fly the flag of the emergent mega opposition political party in the country, the unseating of President Jonathan and PDP would become a reality. I was deeply impressed by his strong belief in Gen Buhari. It was based on this that I went boldly into the field and with the cooperation of the G7 Governors and other leaders of the New PDP, we were able to dismantle what was the famous and largest political party in Africa, PDP,’ said Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze.
Amaechi pursued Buhari’s emergence as APC presidential candidate with evangelical zeal after the New PDP joined APC. “This obsession explains why Amaechi did all within his power to ensure that Buhari emerged as the flag-bearer of APC during the Lagos Convention and, as the Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, worked even harder to ensure that Buhari emerge victorious during the March 28, 2015, presidential election.
The fact remains also that if not for the emergence of Buhari as President, PDP Chieftains would have arrested and jailed Amaechi for championing the attempt to oust PDP from governance at the centre.
The fact remains that the investment and acceptance of Amaechi to lead the Buhari’s Campaign Organisation both for the 2015 and the 2019 general elections shows the sterling qualities of this great man is made up with. John Maxwell and General Montgomery therefore must have had Amaechi in mind when they stated respectively, “A leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” and “My definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence”. These quotes by these great men simply attest to the ability of Amaechi to conceive the way and mobilise Nigerians to send packing a party that prides itself as the largest and biggest political movement in Africa.
Who will know better how her husband was made President than Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari.
In 2016, When Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari was honoured in Kano she was reported as stating, ” After Allah, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is the next person my entire Family will be grateful to cause he made my husband the president of Nigeria”
When my husband told me he wants to contest again I told him no that he won’t dare it.
After Some days, he visited Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi in Rivers state, Amaechi told him you are the next president of Nigeria.
I went to Amaechi and told him, you are the one dragging my Husband into another election, I don’t want to lose my husband cause if anything happens to him I will hold you responsible.
Gov. Amaechi looked at me, smiled and said madam, your husband will contest and he will win. Yes, hold me responsible if anything happens to him. In the end, my husband won.
So that is the reason I and my family will continue to be grateful to Chibuike Amaechi she said.
But in case you doubt this, let us bring one of the most trusted sons of President Buhari, Mal. El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State in a report posted by Vanguard Newspaper on May 16, 2022, titled, “2023: Amaechi gave us money, intervened when I was quizzed by DSS — El-Rufa’i
According to this report, Governor Nasir El-Rufa’i of Kaduna State described Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, as Buhari’s loyalist and confidant.
“There was a time I was in the opposition, the DSS was looking for me, they wanted to arrest me. Amaechi told me where to go and wait for him. I waited and he drove me to the DSS himself and insisted that I should be questioned and released to him the same day and that was what happened. So, who is my friend? Who is my confidant?” El-Rufa’i said.
Governor El-Rufai described Amaechi as his friend and confidant of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that the former minister won Buhari’s heart in 2011 when as a PDP governor of Rivers State, he founded the convention of Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change, CPC.
“Let me tell you people something, in 2011 when we were in CPC, we were to go to a convention and we didn’t have money. Amaechi then was governor of Rivers State under the PDP., I don’t know how he got to know, then he asked how much was needed to hold the convention, and he gave the money. It was the money we used to organise the 2011 convention.
“Since then, President Muhammadu Buhari asked me to continue talking to him. When they were meeting, thinking of defecting to APC, we used to meet with the seven governors before two chickened out.
”Amaechi turned his back against his neighbour, Goodluck Jonathan and said he was going to follow Buhari. He held on to that trust, that is why Daura Emirate gave him the title of Dan Amana Daura.
“We are followers of Buhari. It is what he tells us that we do. So, here is my friend and Buhari’s loyalist, what are you going to do? You should know, after today’s discussion, there are going to be discussions.
“Others will come too, but who is your friend? Who is your loyalist? Your friend and your loyalist is someone who remembers you when you had nothing and nobody with you. Governor Amaechi gave that support, he did it for Buhari and he did it for me.
Let us put aside the positions of Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari and that of Gov El-Rufai and consider what the National Leader of APC, Senator Bola Tinubu said about AMAECHI after the 2015 victory of APC in a video clip that went viral, “We thank you, Rotimi Amaechi, because without your courage, without your determination, without your perseverance, without your degree of honesty and confidence level you are; we will not witness this day: you are not a chicken but you are an EAGLE”
Been a key player in the formation of APC and considering my age, I will be foolish and wicked to ignore the crucial role that Bola Tinubu played in making the Presidency of Buhari possible but to claim that he singlehandedly made Buhari President is sad.
Having said this, let me reiterate that Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi risked his life, and career to move five powerful governors from the PDP to the APC in 2015 under a sitting powerful president!
Rochas Okorocha and Ogbonnaya Onu came with their supporters from APGA and ANPP to support Buhari for President.
Bola Ahmed Tinubu galvanized heavy political machinery to make the APC thick in 2015.
Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso crippled PDP’s political stronghold to make the APC a bride in 2015,
Buhari came with his stamped 12 million votes to give political impetus to the APC.
When you add the 3million votes to the above votes, you could see how everyone collectively made Buhari’s presidency a success at the poll in 2015.
These great actors worked greatly for the success of the APC and should be remembered as legendary political legends when history is tabulated on the wall of fame.
One politician (Tinubu) cannot claim he single-handedly made Buhari the President.
Finally, Eze further reiterated that Rotimi Amaechi is a colossus in the race to succeed President Buhari. He has the pedigree, network, resilience, and capacity to win against the opposition and also reinvent the fortunes of Nigeria. If anyone can lift the needle for APC in the 2023 general elections, then it is the former Minister of Transportation.