2019: Buhari ‘appoints’ Amaechi campaign director

President Muhammadu Buhari commissioning the Abuja-Kaduna Railway 4
File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi at the commissioning of Abuja-Kaduna train services

President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly reappointed Rotimi Amaechi as the director of his 2019 presidential election campaign, marking the latest and strongest indication yet that the Nigerian leader is determined to retain his seat.

PREMIUM TIMES findings and multiple news reports on Wednesday indicated that the president named the Minister of Transport to steer his re-election efforts in December.

The presidency is, however, yet to speak on the appointment.

THISDAY Newspapers reported that Mr. Amaechi has confirmed receipt of his appointment letter from the president and would be making a formal announcement at a media briefing next week.

Similarly, Osasu Igbinedion, an Abuja-based TV show host, told PREMIUM TIMES Mr. Amaechi had taped a confirmation interview that would run in a little over a week.

“The Minister told ‘The Osasu Show’ that he had been appointed the campaign director by the president,” Ms. Igbinedion said by telephone Wednesday evening.

The programme would air on January 12 on AIT, she added.

PREMIUM TIMES also learnt of the development from sources familiar with the activities of both the president and the minister.

A spokesperson for Mr. Amaechi was elusive about the development when reached for comments Wednesday.

“I cannot confirm or deny the reports,” said David Iyofor.

Presidential spokespersons Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES requests for comments.

Mr. Amaechi was the campaign director during the 2015 elections that saw an opposition party defeat the ruling party for the first time in Nigeria’s history. He led the campaign then while he was the incumbent governor in Rivers State.

His reported appointment comes weeks after Mr. Buhari started dropping hints of his re-election plots.

During a visiting to Abidjan in late November, 2017, the president told Nigerians in the Ivory Coast capital that some of them are his potential voters.

While touring Kano on a working visit less than two weeks later, the president told a field packed with his admirers that the turnout was a sign that he remained popular and would easily defeat his challengers if election were held that day.

On Wednesday, the minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu, after meeting Mr. Buhari also spoke about setting up a campaign organisation for the president.

For a president who was away for all but six months in 2017 on medical leave, the re-election efforts could be a major distraction for the administration, said political analyst Kennedy Angbo.

“The president was away on medical leave for most of 2017, he only returned in August and has not even been able to do anything significant since then,” Mr. Angbo said.

He said it was entirely not out of place for people to start making their 2019 ambitions known to Nigerians.

“2018 is like the eve of 2019 and we expect electioneering to kick-off immediately,” Mr. Angbo said. “But this president has done nothing whatsoever to start campaigning for re-election.”

“Boko Haram is still a major threat to our collective national security. The economy is still in shambles. He dashed the hopes of Nigerians,” he said.

Mr. Buhari was elected in March 2015 and assumed office in May. He fell ill and was away for several months between 2016 and 2017.

His longest medical trip was between May and August 2017 when the president spent 103 days on a sickbed in London.

The Nigerian economy that plunged into recession in August 2016 only began recording steady growth in September 2017.

The National Bureau of Statistics said 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs between January 2016 and September 2017.

This is against Mr. Buhari’s campaign promises which included massive job opportunities to stymie alarming youth unemployment and underemployment levels.

“The president’s re-election campaign will not distract him from attending to these issues as he has been doing all along,” said Ayo Akanji, an APC member.

Mr. Akanji said Mr. Buhari has done better than average and expressed confidence in Mr. Amaechi’s ability to return him to office.

“This government has been able to degrade Boko Haram. It has also put Nigeria’s economic on gradual recovery,” Mr. Akanji said. “I have no doubt that Mr. Amaechi, who led the campaign in 2015, will definitely get Nigerians to return the president in 2019.”


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  • Bassey Frank

    The young man used his state’s ‘s looted resources to install his Oga; he was rewarded and has to continue with his “good” works while EFCC keeps persecuting “looters” in opposition and those seen to be critical of PMB.

    • Bakanridi

      So you are envious and JEALOUS of the Rt Hon Ameachi’s success? If this story is true, I congratulate the Transport Minister for a well deserved appointment. He had made last time, he shall SURELY make it this time again. KUDOS to the POLITICAL LEADER OF NIGER DELTA.

      • Arabakpura

        I was with him last time but this time will be very difficult for him! Unless they change their candidate!

        • aisha ani

          It really depends on who the PDP candidate is.

          • Arabakpura

            Buhari is the most disadvantaged because of age and illhealth but we believe God to bring a man that we can trust! There is still time!

          • egbe

            or woman

          • Arabakpura

            Man here represents both man and woman! After all, Jonathan’s wife is better than him and Buhari’s wife is better than him!

          • aisha ani

            Buhari has a very capable vice president.

          • Arabakpura

            Who has now been reduced to a theoretical teacher! They have completely downgraded the man that he now makes mistakes like them too; you know that by association you could lose or gain knowledge!

            If he is not the President, he can’t be anything like the President especially with the hawks around Buhari! The man is simply playing it safe!

            Look how the military ignored Osinbajo in the absence of Buhari!

          • aisha ani

            You can’t blame him for playing it safe.

          • Arabakpura

            That has dampened his performance because he is not acting himself; so, you can’t quite say he is good or not!

          • Julius

            I hate to say it doesn’t matter who they choose. They are just as bad if not worst. Atiku is somehow having a cold feet and I wonder why.

          • Arabakpura

            The two parties can still give us two credible individuals to compete amongst themselves! We must solve this problem called Nigeria that has appeared to defy gravity!

          • Julius

            I agree but remember that it is also up to us a voters. Whoever must be vetted thoroughly. Yes, we must solve our problems because nobody will do it for us. Nigeria is just fine the way she is right now to the elites.

          • Arabakpura

            A country is as good as the health of its President! Perhaps he would have performed better! He doesn’t even have the energy to supervise his subordinates and that’s why he keeps leaving them alone unsupervised and they have even claimed that as an advantage – SMH! You have about 180 million human beings whose destinies are mortgaged as a result!

          • Julius

            The more reasons that we all have to rise up and do the needful.

        • Bakanridi

          Let’s wait and see. Only time will tell.

          • Arabakpura

            This was the way it started with Jonathan! It is not new!

      • Bassey Frank

        This sounds like the voice of Voodoo. Can’t you see NEMESIS at work? You want me to give you details?

        • Bakanridi

          Oh yes, go ahead.

      • Nnamdi Ugwuadu

        May you get a man with Buhari attitude and character to rule and be the head of your kinsmen from now on.

        • Bakanridi

          Ameeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!

        • Bakanridi

          Ameen. You may say it again!

  • Solomon Brown

    Amaechi the interloping sycophant, thinks he’s going to pull off another win this time around, that was a one off and the circumstances this time around are very different from what we had in 2015. They plan on winning by breaking the will and resolve of the people, hence the reason we are starting to see an increase in attacks by the fulani militia and boko haram. This is an evil government and it is imperative we kick it to the curb, Buhari and his band of theives are the real enemy within.

  • Mizch

    God forbid bad thing!

  • Rev

    Self inflicted delusion.

  • Oyi

    Amaechi is not in position to use Rivers state money to support PMB again, the govt have decided to withdraw 1busd from ECWA to execute the project. They will failllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

  • Zikson Uzochukwu

    Nigeria reject Rotimi Amaechi and Buhari campaign because their campaign and their winning in 2015, bring suffer to Nigeria, so nigeria don’t try but vote them out in 2019 general election.

    • Olatubosun

      Keep quiet….

      You don’t what u are doing

  • grand maze

    When it comes to appointing ministers to run our economy, buhari is 6 months late. When it comes to appointing board members to man our parastatals and departments, buhari is almost 3 years late. But when it comes to appointing presidential campaign director, buhari is more than 6 months early. This shows that the only thing that matters to buhari is only to be the presidunce of Nigeria.

  • Mizch

    Could we give Buhari another four years without going into presidential election fevers, traumas & stress, apart from the election expenses?

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