INSIDERS ALLEGE: WHY TINUBU IS ANGRY WITH KACHIKWU
In the wake of widespread criticisms of the government’s handling of the nationwide fuel scarcity, national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu publicly lambasted the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu last weekend, in a well-publicised statement.
However, media reports indicated that Tinubu’s strongly-worded statement might have been fueled by sentiment that lay elsewhere. It was alleged that Tinubu took umbrage at Ibe Kachikwu when he appointed Onikepo Animashaun as GM, Legal, at NPDC. Presidency officials said they noted the unusual public criticism of Kachikwu, who Tinubu ought to know is the minister of state in the Office of the Petroleum Minister, occupied by President Muhammadu Buhari, and that they would have thought that if he had anything against Kachikwu as Buhari’s minister of state, he had all the access to the presidency to lodge his complaints, and therefore found his public reproval of Kachikwu surprising.A presidency official who said because he was not briefed to comment on the issue, he may not be quoted, noted that Tinubu’s anger with Kachikwu may not be unconnected with Kachikwu’s appointment of Animashaun as GM at NPDC without the approval of Tinubu, given that Animashaun was a permanent secretary in the Lagos State government and a Lagos indigene.Tinubu was said to be particularly piqued that Animashaun was recommended by Pastor Tunde Bakare, and backed by former Lagos Governor Babatunde Fashola, without reference to him before being appointed. He was said to have pointedly asked Kachikwu to reverse the appointment but the minister told him that it was a bit too late in the day to do that as Lagos State government did not raise any objection or make any adverse comment to her appointment as GM and that if they do, then the NNPC management would reconsider her appointment.When this was brought to the attention of President Buhari, according to the officials, the President maintained that anybody once appointed after following due process could only be removed by due process and not because of opposition from individuals.
Following the President’s position on the issue, Lagos State government then wrote a letter to NNPC saying it did not support Animashaun’s appointment. It was gathered that Animashaun quickly countered that by presenting a letter of commendation from Lagos State government for her exceptional and meritorious services to the state which earned her an award as one of the best performing permanent secretaries, a development that made it impossible for Kachikwu to act on the petition.Tinubu was said to have insisted that Animashaun must be removed if Kachikwu was to know peace. Presidency officials, therefore, believed that yesterday’s statement authored by Tinubu was one of the first salvos in that direction. They believe so because they wondered why a small comment by Kachikwu on fuel scarcity would attract a strongly-worded statement by Tinubu, a national leader of APC, when he has unfettered access to Buhari to lodge his complaints on any issue.
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