THE weekend turbaning of Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi as the Dan Amanar Daura, by the 60th Emir of Daura, Alhaji Faruk Umar Faruk, is raising dust in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, regarding permutations on who would succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
The turbaning was witnessed by governors, former governors, traditional rulers and top politicians among others.
Host of groups thronged the venue to mobilise support for Amaechi for President in 2023.
The groups are Frontier for Peace and Unity, FPU, Amaechi Vanguard, Amaechi 2023 Agenda and Northern Grassroots Mobilization.
The ceremony also attracted Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Ogunwusi; Alhaji Muhammadu Nuhu Sanusi (Emir of Dutse); Erin Edet Ekong (Chairman of Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council); Abdullahi Lamido Sunusi (Magajin Garin Kano); Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba (Minister of State for Education); Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, minister of State for Health; Okechukwu Enelamah (Minister of State for Trade and Investment); Alhaji Yusuf Tukur Buratai, Mallam Isa Yuguda (former Bauchi Governor); Alhaji Musa Haro (District Head Dumurkol); Alhaji Yusuf Buhari (District Head of Kwasarawa); Alhaji Bashir Jamo (DG NIMASA); and Alhaji Muhammadu Koko among others.
The turbaning, according to observers of political events, remains significant in many respects especially for Amaechi’s contributions to the socio-economic development of Nigeria and, in particular, the emirate of Daura in his capacity as Minister of Transport.
The pundits hold the view that the conferment of the title on Amaechi, a Nigerian of South-South origin, at a time like this, goes beyond a mere gesture of a returned gratitude.
They opine that the conferment borders on the knotty issue of President Buhari’s successor in 2023.
Besides, they insist that the Dan Amanar Daura title remains an Emirate’s audacious political statement as it has raised a critical issue of trust in leadership.
Buhari’s delegation to Amaechi’s turbaning
Earlier, President Buhari had sent congratulatory messages to Amaechi, who was the Director-General of his election campaigns, on the conferment of chieftaincy titles on him by the Daura Emirate Council.
It was gathered that the President, who ought to be at the event, had designated a delegation of three, made up of the ministers of Water Resources, Sulaiman Adamu; Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and Senior Special Assistant (Media and Publicity) Garba Shehu, to represent him.
Buhari described the conferment of the title of Dan Amanar Daura on Amaechi as a clear commitment to the harmonious relationship among the nation’s diverse cultures.
Amaechi a goal getter— Emir of Daura
Describing Amaechi as a goal-getter, the Emir of Daura prayed for the Minister to attain a higher office.
The Emir’s prayer has sent a strong signal that Amaechi is a trusted son of Buhari, who can take over the reins of power after the president.
The Emir said: “We are gathered here to reciprocate the kind gesture done to us by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, for his wholehearted love and support for us. Therefore, it is binding on the Daura traditional emirate to acknowledge the kind gesture. My prayer is for God to give you a higher office.”
Faruk also commended Amaechi for ensuring that the Kano-Maradi Standard Gauge Railway line passes through Daura.
The traditional ruler said: “We don’t give title because you have money. We give you considering your sacrifices and impact on people’s lives, and impact on the community and the nation at large.”
An audacious statement
Indeed, many hold the view that Amaechi’s turbaning remains an audacious statement on where the sons and daughters of Daura, including President Buhari, stand in the 2023 presidential election.
Last weekend’s event in Daura may have inadvertently revealed what Buhari was trying to conceal when he said: “I don’t have any favourite for 2023 and if I do, I won’t reveal his identity because if I do, he may be eliminated before the election. I better keep it secret”.
The title Dan Amanan Daura, perhaps, gives a clue.
With the coronation of Amaechi, only a few would now be left in doubt as to where the President stands on the matter of his successor.
Tongues are, however, wagging as the APC and Nigerians wait to see where the pendulum swings to.
A social commentator, Chijioke Nwachukwu, who described the event as an audacious statement, said: “The turbaning is an endorsement – a loud and eloquent statement on where the current ruling northern establishment stands as far as the 2023 presidential election is concerned. Like in all democracies, it is logical to assume that there are dissenting voices based on individual, group or class interests. The North, with its huge and diverse population, has divergent positions which are expected in a multi-party democracy, but, as often demonstrated, the interest of the ruling northern elites always finds convergence on how and who could protect the interest of the North based on trust.”
Nwachukwu also noted that “Recent developments in the APC vis-a-vis the revised amendment on the Electoral Act, among other political moves, suggest that Buhari holds the yam and the knife on matters relating to the party’s presidential candidate for 2023. His choice is likely to weigh heavily on the side of trust.”