While some Ministry workers in Abuja jubilated on Wednesday over Rotimi Amaechi’s return to Dipcherima House as Minister of Transportation, a cross section of Yoruba people in Lagos wore sad faces, with many of them noting that Amaechi’s first tenure did not augur well for the Yoruba people.
“It should have been anybody else, but Amaechi”, remarked an industry watcher, Boluwatife Egbewole, stressing that Amaechi actually marginalised the Yoruba people in the Nigerian Maritime Industry.
“As at this minute, there is no single Yoruba person heading any Government’s Maritime parastatal. And you must recall that even Olorunnimbe Mamora who briefly headed the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), also got there by accident!”, he highlighted, stressing that he would not be surprised if Amaechi, even this minute, goes to the South South to shop for Mamora’s replacement, as Mamora yesterday became a Minister of State, Health.
Speaking in the same vein, another Yoruba importer, Dada Ajayi noted that while the return of Amaechi may confer the beneficial advantage of continuity, it must also be emphasised that his first coming witnessed retarded ports’ operations to an unprecedented level, exacerbated by gridlock.
“We must appreciate the fact that Amaechi’s first tenure witnessed a helpless port industry, incarcerated by gridlock. Amaechi devoted his total energy to a mandate clearly outside the Maritime; while the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency openly played politics!
“Amaechi was more of a Minister for the Railway, than a Minister of Transportation. Amaechi’s first tenure witnessed the deaths of several indigenous shipping companies, even as some fled outside Nigeria, to escape imminent death. He had no solutions. He had no encouragement. In fact, it was like he had a mission to demoralize the stakeholders!”, he explained further, adding that even then, Ibadan people are yet to begin to come to Lagos with the ochestrated standard rail gauge, contrary to Amaechi’s pledge in January 2019.
The importer however thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for not returning Babatunde Fashola as Minister of Power, stressing that Nigerians were tired of over-hyped NEPA/ prepaid metre politics!
However, the Abuja Office of the Minister presented a positive look on Wednesday, as Amaechi returned to his familiar turf, with several happy workers, celebrating his return at a ministry he headed from 2015 to May this year.
The Minister, who came with the Minister of State (Transportation), Ms Gbemi Saraki, arrived the ministry at about 1.29 pm, into the waiting arms of some friends, family and Ministry workers.
An elated Minister subsequently told the crowd that he would officially resume duty on August 26.
“Thank you for the warm welcome; I will officially resume duty on August 26″, he addressed them, hinting that he may also brief the media then too.
The former Rivers governor is credited with reviving the Nigerian Railway line, an initiative originally planted by Alhaji Bio, one of the Minister’s predecessors.
Amaechi however infused it with new impetus and a dynamism which resulted in the inauguration of the Abuja-Kaduna rail line; before swooping on the Lagos-Ibadan rail project which he promised would be completed and commissioned before the 2019 General Elections.
Some of the staff who said they were happy that Amaechi had returned as the Minister of Transportation, also expressed readiness to work with him, describing him as as a brother, mentor and leader who carries everyone along.
Meanwhile, a Lagos lawmaker, Mr. Setonji David on Wednesday noted that Nigerians are waiting for the newly inaugurated federal ministers to deliver on campaign promises of President Muhammadu Buhari.
David who is representing Badagry Constituency 1, is also the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly ad hoc Committee on Public Works Corporation (LSPWC), made the assertion in on Wednesday in Lagos.
The lawmaker, who commended Buhari for constituting his cabinet within 90 days of his inauguration for a second term, said some of the ministers had records of performance at the various offices held before.
“Some of these ministers have track records of performance, for instance, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Minister of Interior, former Gov. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing and Sen. Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minister of Health (State).
“These and many others have performed credibly well before and they are going to do good job
“But Nigerians are waiting, they trust their president and they are expecting succour from many of the challenges facing the country,” he said.
“l believe that whatever must have informed his decision to assign those portfolios honestly would have been in the best interest of this country.
“It is a good omen and a positive development that the president constituted his cabinet early,” he said.