There is a mild war brewing in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet between Rotimi Amaechi and Hadi Sirika, Signal reports. Amaechi is Nigeria’s minister of Transport while Sirika is the minister of state for Aviation and the pair are said to be at loggerheads over reported acts of insubordination by the latter. According to Signal, sources revealed that both ministers were close to exchanging physical blows on Monday save for the intervention of some civil servants and aides who were at the scene of the disagreement.
Sirika is reportedly reluctant to have Amaechi (a senior minister and direct boss) push him around. But the former Rivers state governor is on the other hand, not having any of Sirika’s acts and is working to put him in his place. The reason for the junior minister’s acts, sources disclosed, is the fact that he is from President Buhari’s Katsina north senatorial district, where he served as a senator. A source explained details of the incident to Signal thus: “It’s all about power tussle. Sirika thinks Amaechi is overstepping his boundaries and should mind his business as Transport Minister. But Amaechi is also in charge of Aviation. “He is the senior minister, while Sirika as Minister of State for Aviation is junior minister. But Sirika sees himself as the President’s guy. So, he refuses to take directives from Amaechi and now Amaechi is feeling undermined.
“This has led to a big power play between both men. It is becoming so messy that even the official portraits of both ministers are missing at the airports. That’s why Amaechi was doing maritime summit in Lagos while Sirika was doing aviation in Abuja.” When contacted on Wednesday to explain why both ministers’ portraits were absent at airports across the country, Yakubu Datti, the general manager, corporate communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said: “We are awaiting the official portraits of the ministers. They are yet to send them in to us.”
Pressed further on whether the tussle between the ministers is the reason for the absence of their portraits at the airports, Datti explained that Amaechi’s portrait is at the airport, explaining that only Sirika’s image was not present. “It is one ministry with one permanent secretary. So it is only the portrait of the senior minister that should be there,” he noted.
Civil servants in the aviation sector have expressed their embarrassment over the tussle between both ministers, especially because they have brought their misunderstanding to public glare. A senior government official who pleaded anonymity, said: “It is a shame. Both ministers are embarrassing themselves publicly. It is a mess. And President Buhari on his part has been silent over this issue. He should call them to order immediately. “The aviation and transport sectors are very key sectors of our economy. We can’t continue to have two adults who should know better fighting over the pettiness of who is in charge or control of what. When two elephants fight, unfortunately, it is the ground that suffers. “Nigerians are the ones who will bear the brunt over this unnecessary squabble.” Meanwhile, Nigerians have asked President Buhari to, without delay, remove Amaechi from his cabinet over corruption allegations leveled against the former Speaker of Rivers state House of Representatives. Amaechi was accused of diverting APC campaign funds during the presidential election but he has denied ever being involved in the said act of corruption.
Read more: https://www.naij.com/835878-trouble-looms-buharis-cabinet-amaechi-presidents-kinsman-nearly-exchanged-blows.html