Contrary to the impression that the appointment of the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi as the Director-General of the presidential campaign of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was done to appease him after losing out in his alleged bid to be General Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate, The ELITES can confirm that the appointment was actually made three months ago.
According to sources close to the general, Buhari had allegedly met with Amaechi in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital between September and October shortly before his declaration and requested to have him lead his campaign.
One of the sources however said Amaechi could not immediately give a favourable reply, but requested to consult and allegedly first met with his own caucus before meeting with the Governors’ Forum for consultation. The two groups, the source added, expressed grave concerns about the timing because of its many implications.
For instance, his immediate group, the source hinted, allegedly opposed the appointment on the grounds that it was premature while the governors’ forum too concurred, saying he could not be their chairman and at the same time accept to be Buhari’s campaign DG at that material time.
The governors, it was learnt, further noted that accepting to lead Buhari’s campaign at a time the presidential primary was yet to hold could give an undue advantage to the General and also question Amaechi’s impartiality and those of the governors in the election.
Given the picture painted by the two groups believed to be dear to Amaechi, the Rivers Governor was said to have kept mute on the matter until Buhari revisited it during his declaration and it was there Amaechi allegedly said yes to him, but with a caveat that the announcement be suspended until after the primary election and national convention of the APC.
Immediately it was clear that Amaechi had accepted to lead Buhari’s campaign, former Lagos State governor and a leader of the party, Bola Tinubu allegedly moved in and appointed Senator Olorunimbe Mamora as the deputy Director-General and former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos, Mr. Dele Alake to head the media department and work at close quarters with Amaechi.
Still not done, Tinubu allegedly attempted to put more people on the board of the campaign group, before Buhari allegedly declined and asked that Amaechi be left to decide those he would work with and not at the prompting of anyone.
But the national leadership of the APC through its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Muhammed, announced the appointment last week as if the idea was conceived by the leadership to calm Amaechi. It was entirely Buhari’s idea but which matured at the time the issue of the running mate became controversial, The ELITES gathered from inside sources.