Home / Featured / Considering the huge debt of your states, I will not consider you for ministerial appointment” – Buhari tells Fashola, Amaechi

Considering the huge debt of your states, I will not consider you for ministerial appointment” – Buhari tells Fashola, Amaechi

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The immediate past governor of Lagos State, Mr Babatunde Fashola and his Rivers State counterpart, Mr Rotimi Amaechi have become the first causalities’ of President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘no nonsense’ style of leadership as both have lost out in their quest for ministerial position. The two former governors were at the forefront of the tenacious “change campaign” that saw Buhari emerged victorious in the March 28, 2015 presidential election where Amaechi even served as Buhari’s campaign director.According to reports from Thecityreporters, President Buhari was said to have told Fashola and Amaechi to their faces in one of the All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus meetings held before his inauguration on Friday, May, 29, that he was not considering both of them for ministerial appointment without given any reasons to justify his stand.This we gathered may not be unconnected with the large sub-national external debts incurred by Lagos State and Rivers State under the watch of Fashola and Amaechi.Under Fashola, Lagos State Government owes $1.02bn which represents 33.86 per cent of the country’s total sub-national external debts leaving the remaining 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory with $1.99bn as of June 30, 2014.Amaechi was also accused of plunging Rivers State into massive external indebtedness by a coalition of non-governmental organisations interested in transparency and accountability in governance.He took $280m concessionary loan from World Bank and the Africa Development Bank for the purpose of providing water and sanitation which the coordinator of NDCBP, Mr Ken Henshaw claimed will increase Rivers State debt to the tune of $322m.Henshaw, said, “since 2008, Rivers State has experienced a steady rise in the amount it owes external creditors. In 2008, Rivers State owed $32.3m, which increased to $33.7m in 2009.“By 2010, it rose to $35.5m and decreased to $33.8m in 2011, only to rise again to $36.6m in 2012 and $42.6m as at the end of 2013.”Henshaw noted then that apart from these, the Rivers State government also had a significantly large domestic debt amount, which stood at N81.4bn and represented 5.2 percent of the total domestic debt of 36 states as at the end of 2012.”The then Rivers State commissioner for information and communications, Mrs Ibim Sementari however refuted the claim saying the state’s debt was below N100bn.She insisted then that Rivers State government had set aside N11bn every month to service its debt profile, therefore would not leave any debt for the incoming government; a promise the Amaechi led government failed to honour as governor Nyesom Wike had raised the alarm over the large debt left behind by Amaechi.We however gathered from a reliable source, that President Buhari has been under pressure since his victory by some stakeholders of the APC especially from the South-West who felt their financial support contributed greatly to his overwhelming victory at the poll.Buhari was said to have rejected severally the ministerial nominees list doctored by these APC South-West cabals on the ground that he decides who works with him and would only consider someone based on merit.This we gathered informed Buhari’s statement in his inaugural speech after he was sworn-in on Friday, that he is for everyone and not for anyone.Source maintains that the list of ministerial nominees published by an online news portal which the APC hierarchy disowned before the inauguration was actually presented to Buhari but his refusal to accept or look at it forced the APC to disown it in order not to expose the party’s in-house rancor to the public.Source further said that Buhari being a disciplinarian believes that Fashola and Amaechi who were among those who flouted his directive to all out-going governors to settle their debts before vacating office are not fit enough as well as prudent to be considered in his cabinet.Besides, Buhari is said to have confidence in the personalities that worked with him during his 20 months administration in 1983 and would only consider new faces on the ground of merit.“We could see the return of Tam David West and others soon.” Source said.But Fashola’s camp however are attributing his rejection to the cold war between him and Bola Tinubu saying their principal is being witch-hunted by his political god-father over personal disagreement.According to them, rather than fighting, they should be worried that APC is about to be high jacked by the northerners, citing Buhari’s recent visit to London where none of the South-West APC stalwarts was informed, they feared that Buhari will not carry the South-west APC echelons along.

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