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Board Appointments Split APC

..Sources Blame Tinubu’s Outburst On Frustration

The recent outburst aimed at the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), was due to apparent frustration, sources at the Presidency, Petroleum Ministry and APC told Independent.

Tinubu, in an uncharacteristic manner, issued a strongly worded statement denouncing Kachikwu’s handling of the current fuel crisis besetting the country for months now.

In the statement titled, “Kachikwu needs to know that respect and good performance will do what magic cannot”, Tinubu denounced the minister’s statement saying it “was untimely and off-putting.”

Kachikwu had told State House Correspondents in Abuja last Wednesday that despite the government’s efforts, the fuel situation might not improve until the next two months, adding that he was not a magician and did not have a magic wand to eliminate the fuel queues.

But a source at the ministry, Kachikwu’s official constituency, said Tinubu was miffed because he didn’t have his crony made a General Manager of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).”

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Against Tinubu’s wish, Onikepo Animashaun was appointed after she had been endorsed Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode. This development, sources said, did not sink well with Tinubu who latched unto what some APC’s stalwarts regarded as a “mere statement.”

The source pointed out that Kachikwu is a Minister of State, and asked, “why didn’t he blame President Muhammadu Buhari who is the senior Minister? Or is he indirectly blaming the President?

“This outburst was because of the appointment of Animashaun and nothing more. Until governments at all levels continue to employ qualified people, people without questionable characters or political, ethnic and religious leanings, we won’t move forward.

“What is the grouse against Animashaun, is she not qualified? Why must one person rise up to have a say in all board appointments? What happens to the poor who are qualified?”, the source asked, refusing to be quoted.

Animashaun, who hails from Lagos State, was a permanent secretary in the Lagos State government until her appointment.

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According to investigations by Independent, Animashaun was recommended by Pastor Tunde Bakare, who was Buhari’s running mate in their failed presidential bid in 2011. He has remained a strong ally of the president from the South-West.

The appointment was also promoted by former Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola, who is a very influential minister in Buhari’s government.

It was when the appointment process had been concluded and the president had been informed that Tinubu approached Kachikwu to cancel the appointment. The minister, it was said, not to act Independently, approached the president, who turned it down.

It was said the president backed his position on no objection issued by the Lagos State government.

Realising Tinubu’s position, a letter was belatedly written by the Lagos State government to denounce the appointment to which Animashaun presented a letter of commendation from Lagos State government. Her letter countered the letter from Lagos State government.

Quoting the letter, a source said, she was praised “for her exceptional and meritorious services to the state which, earned her an award as one of the best performing permanent secretaries during her eventful period in the services of Lagos State.”

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Tinubu, it was noted, had threatened the minister if the appointment was not reversed.

Several sources in the APC’s national office in Abuja were divided with some supporting Tinubu while others blamed him. Some others blamed the President saying, “the bucks stop with the President.”

Meanwhile, sources at the party’s headquarters blamed the ensuing crisis on several appointments the president had made which did not favour the national leader. They pointed out that more would come as the President would make more board appointments .

“With more appointments to be made, more of such dissension and expression of anger would come,” said an APC national director, refusing to be quoted.