Trouble looms in Buhari’s cabinet as Amaechi and president’s kinsman nearly exchanged blows

– Sirika is said to be showing insubordination to his
direct boss, Amaechi
– Sources say this may not be unconnected to his
(Sirika’s) relationship with President Buhari
– Amaechi is said not to be taking the acts with a pinch
of salt
– Aviation workers express disappointment over the
public squabbles of the ministers
There is a mild war brewing in President Muhammadu
Buhari’s cabinet between Rotimi Amaechi and Hadi Sirika,
Signal reports.
Amaechi is Nigeria’s minister of Transport while Sirika is the
minister of state for Aviation and the pair are said to be at
loggerheads
over reported acts of insubordination by the
latter.
According to Signal, sources revealed that both ministers
were close to exchanging physical blows on Monday save
for the intervention of some civil servants and aides who
were at the scene of the disagreement.

Amaechi and Sirika are said to be at loggerheads over acts
of insubordination by the junior minister.
Sirika is reportedly reluctant to have Amaechi (a senior
minister and direct boss) push him around. But the former
Rivers state governor is on the other hand, not having any
of Sirika’s acts and is working to put him in his place.
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The reason for the junior minister’s acts, sources disclosed,
is the fact that he is from President Buhari’s Katsina north
senatorial district, where he served as a senator.
A source explained details of the incident to Signal thus: “It’s
all about power tussle. Sirika thinks Amaechi is
overstepping his boundaries and should mind his business
as Transport Minister. But Amaechi is also in charge of
Aviation.
“He is the senior minister, while Sirika as Minister of State
for Aviation is junior minister. But Sirika sees himself as the
President’s guy. So, he refuses to take directives from
Amaechi and now Amaechi is feeling undermined.
“This has led to a big power play between both men. It is
becoming so messy that even the official portraits of both
ministers are missing at the airports. That’s why Amaechi
was doing maritime summit in Lagos while Sirika was doing
aviation in Abuja.”
When contacted on Wednesday to explain why both
ministers’ portraits were absent at airports across the
country, Yakubu Datti, the general manager, corporate
communications, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria
(FAAN), said: “We are awaiting the official portraits of the
ministers. They are yet to send them in to us.”
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ministers
Pressed further on whether the tussle between the
ministers is the reason for the absence of their portraits at
the airports, Datti explained that Amaechi’s portrait is at the
airport, explaining that only Sirika’s image was not present.
“It is one ministry with one permanent secretary. So it is
only the portrait of the senior minister that should be
there,” he noted.
Civil servants in the aviation sector have expressed their
embarrassment over the tussle between both ministers,
especially because they have brought their
misunderstanding to public glare.
A senior government official who pleaded anonymity, said:
“It is a shame. Both ministers are embarrassing themselves
publicly. It is a mess. And President Buhari on his part has
been silent over this issue. He should call them to order
immediately.
“The aviation and transport sectors are very key sectors of
our economy. We can’t continue to have two adults who
should know better fighting over the pettiness of who is in
charge or control of what. When two elephants fight,
unfortunately, it is the ground that suffers.
“Nigerians are the ones who will bear the brunt over this
unnecessary squabble.”
Meanwhile, Nigerians have asked President Buhari to,
without delay, remove Amaechi from his cabinet over
corrution allegations leveled against the former Speaker of
Rivers state House of Representatives.
Amaechi was accused of diverting APC campaign funds
during the presidential election but he has denied ever
being involved in the said act of corruption.

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