• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

AMCON chairman’s sack heightens 2023 permutations

Muiz Banire

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sacked another Lagos politician, Muiz Banire, as chairman of the Governing Board of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), appointing Edward Lametek Adamu as new chairman of the Corporation.

Banire’s removal comes barely a day after the president replaced Tunde Fowler as chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). Banire and Fowler are loyalists to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who is alleged to be interested in succeeding Buhari in 2023, even though Tinubu and Banire were reported to have fallen out in the past.

Political analysts say the president’s refusal to reappoint Fowler and his sack of Banire are all part of attempts to clip Tinubu’s wings ahead of the 2023 elections.

Banire’s replacement was contained in a letter from the president read on the floor of the Senate by Ahmad Lawan, president of the Senate.

“In accordance with Section 10(1) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, 2010, I hereby present Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu for confirmation as chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria by the Distinguished Senate,” said the letter dated December 9, 2019.

“While hoping that this request will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration,” it said.

Tunji Shelle, a former chairman of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos, accused the Muhammadu Buhari administration of nepotism and sidelining of other regions in the country in terms of appointments into public offices.

Shelle wondered why President Buhari would remove the two men who hail from the South West and replace them with Northerners, stressing that the president’s action was against the unity of the country.

He, however, refused to rule out insinuations that their removal could be linked to the battle for 2023 presidency, but added that it portrayed the bad politics being played in the country.

“What President Buhari has done is not good for the unity of the country. These are public positions. If they are qualified, why not allow them continue in the positions? It shows the kind of dirty politics we are playing. You don’t play this kind of politics,” Shelle said.

“This government is taking this nepotism too far. How can you remove a Yoruba man and put a Northerner there? That was what happened when [Kemi] Adeosun was removed; the replacement supposed to be from the South West. We are being cheated and it does not help for the unity of this country,” he said.

However, Moshood Salvador, a chieftain of the ruling APC in Lagos State, denied insinuations that Banire’s removal was politically motivated or linked to the battle for 2023 presidency.

Salvador urged Nigerians to stop insinuations, stressing that the presidency may have removed Banire from his position for a better one.

“I don’t like commenting on these issues because I am not in government and I don’t know what they are doing. But it’s wrong for you to link Muiz [Banire’s] removal from office to 2023,” he said. “Let’s watch and see. With time we would know, but I’m sure his is not linked to 2023.”

Buhari appointed Banire as AMCON chairman in July 2018. Banire, a former national legal adviser of the APC, is one of Tinubu’s loyalists. He was a special adviser to Tinubu in 1999 during the latter’s tenure as governor of Lagos State. He was subsequently named commissioner of transportation in the same year, a position he held till the expiration of Tinubu’s eight-year tenure in 2007.

During his tenure as commissioner for transportation, Banire created the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to combat the state’s growing problem with automotive congestion. He also initiated the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to improve capacity and reliability relating to conventional bus systems.

Also, during the time of Babatunde Fashola as Lagos State governor, Banire was appointed as commissioner of environment and made combating Lagos flooding through the implantation of state-wide drainages a priority and Lagos’ role in combating the worldwide problem of climate change was actively pursued.

Before Fowler’s replacement on Monday, the former FIRS boss had requested to be reappointed for a second term in office, according to a letter seen by BusinessDay.

“I wish to present myself for reappointment for a second term. This is consistent with the provisions of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 and would grant me the opportunity to consolidate and build on the achievements we have recorded in the past 4 years,” Fowler had said in the letter he addressed to Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), referring to a notification of his tenure expiration as executive chairman of FIRS.

Despite attaching the highlights of his achievements during his first tenure in office, his request was still not granted.

“I would like to put it on record my gratitude to Mr President for the opportunity to serve the nation. I am also thankful for your support in the course of the discharge of my duties,” the letter read.

President Buhari had on Monday named Muhammad M. Nami as the new chairman of the FIRS, replacing Fowler whose tenure expired on Monday.

 

IHEANYI NWACHUKWU & INIOBONG IWOK