Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as a man from the backwaters of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria is expected to be temperate, grateful and shun of the hubris of playing god. Also, as one who came up the rough and hard way, which is no fault of his, Amaechi, so far is finding it infra dig to embrace the virtues of cultured society despite being a Speaker of a State Assembly, Governor and now a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
For anybody that pays close attention, this should not be surprising. Having tasted the elixir of power and the privileges it confers on those who wield or walk in its corridors, Amaechi has become blinded to the consequences of unbridled power and avarice.
He is the typical modern Cain. The one who has little or no moral scruples about selling his birth right in a masked quest for survival. The one who forgets the essence and meaning of contentment, integrity and working for community brotherhood. In the build up to the 2015 election in Nigeria, Amaechi simply could not contain himself as he engaged in bellicose activities directed at the person of the then sitting President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience.
It is instructive that in all of his assaults against the First Family, there was no response from the peace-loving and affable Jonathan. Most Nigerians had expected that it should have served as a lesson for the pugnacious Amaechi to take a cue and retreat. No! His eyes were firmly fixed on expanding his political clout even if it meant severing his soul from all that is godly and dignifying just for a mess of pottage.
Fast forward to November 2015, Amaechi got his wish of working for a new government but his avaricious self is not satisfied. His appetite to stoke violence, throw catch phrases and defy law and order seems to grow by the day.
Speaking recently, precisely, on November 12, 2016 at a rally in Bera in Gokana Local Government Area of Ogoniland of Rivers State, South South Nigeria, the hometown of APC Rivers South East Senatorial zone candidate, Magnus Abe, Amaechi vowed that the APC must Win At All Cost!
Amaechi said: “If there is one place APC shouldn’t campaign, it is in Ogoniland but Wike said he must win here.
“It is not as if he is God. Only God can say that but since he is not God, he will fail. Wike can never be God. The battle is not in Ogoniland but in the Ikwerre and Ahoada axis of Rivers State, Nigeria
“So he had better forget here (Ogoniland). He said he will deploy everything. Anything he wants to deploy let him deploy, we will deploy our own.”
It should be stated that Governor Nyesom Wike is the Chief Law Officer of Rivers State, therefore has the constitutional mandate to ensure that all legitimate means are deployed for a successful Rivers Rerun legislative poll. One wonders where Amaechi derives his powers from to “deploy our own.”
It is pertinent for Nigerians to ask what Amaechi meant by “we will deploy our own,” and “The past elections, we took security for granted. This time, we will not take security for granted.”
As a former governor, Amaechi knows very well that he has no security mandate even as a minister. Except he is confirming to Nigerians that simply because he is a member of the ruling party at the centre, he now has extra-security privileges which he intends to use to out-muscle a duly elected administration in Rivers state.
Like a man who the gods want to destroy, he has confirmed that he engaged in subversive activities against the administration of President Jonathan. One sincerely doubts if the regime he belongs to now would have tolerated his manifest intransigence.
According to him; “In all the fight I had with the federal government under former President Jonathan, nobody saw me physically battling with anybody.” Perhaps he needs to be reminded how he led street protests even in Abuja to undermine federal authority and got away with it.
Part of the incredulous resort to vile language clearly shows that the mark of Cain on him requires an avalanche of men of God and anointing to redeem him as a professed Christian! If Amaechi were not to be under the influence of, perhaps, psychotic powers, he would not have condescend to this: “Wike is indeed a thug, not a governor. He doesn’t know what it takes to govern.”
While it may be subject to debate, the minister’s predilections give credence to allegations that he could be psychologically off balance. If it is not so, why does Amaechi, like a shrew, complain and make lots of drama? Why does he whine and make endless fuss over his inability to galvanise the people constructively rather than stir them up to violence by his constant bitching in the media? Well, he suffers from the victim mentality, with the ultimate end to dominate.
But the electorate in his part of the country are wiser. When the Nigerian electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for no cogent reason, decided to deny the people of the state, a constitutional guarantee, representation at the National and State legislatures, Amaechi and his horde in the All Progressives Congress did not as much as bother to sound the alarm to the abuse of the democratic right and privilege of the Rivers people to be represented. Amaechi did not deem it expedient to pull his weight in the regime he belongs to insist that the right thing be done by the people he claims to have their interest.
Rather, he went on with business as usual to expand his empire of avarice by positioning his coterie of hangers on in the government while the interest of Rivers State suffers. Just like Cain, it is about self, and not his brother (the people of Rivers state).
The international community need not watch idly by while Amaechi engages in political rabble- rousing capable of inspiring violence in the Rivers rerun. The world sat back and allowed people of hate to instigate the Rwanda genocide and not too long ago in Kenya. When a government minister vows to “do whatever it takes to win,” it is a prescription for disaster and violence. What Amaechi, and by extension the APC, is telling the Rivers electorate and Nigerians as a whole is that their votes do not count. What is obvious when he said “we will bring our own security,” is that there are security operatives that are extra-constitutional without any loyalty to the Nigerian State but are directed by him and the APC.
Equating the Rivers rerun to the unpreparedness of the Democrats in the just concluded United States election shows a remarkable shallow understanding of the workings of democracy. The democrats campaigned hard and well, they did not threaten to upend the democratic process with their own security or win at all cost as he has espoused. They worked within the ambit of the law and won the popular vote but lost the most important, the Electoral College.
That is how democracy works! Let the minister be reminded that in the final analysis, he will be held accountable like Cain. There is no punishment worse than to be considered an outcast by one’s own people and Amaechi’s overly militarised visits to Rivers State should serve as harbinger that the people’s will to freely choose those who will represent their interests cannot be exchanged for a mess of pottage.
––Emenike writes from Port Harcourt