A TALKER OR A WALKER?

2
Rotimi Amaechi

Despite the insinuations, Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, has made his mark, writes Peter Abuchi

The history of modern politics in Nigeria, especially since return to civil rule

in 1999, cannot be written without generous space devoted to the personality of

Right Honorable (Chief) Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.

Chief Amaechi is currently the Minister of Transportation and in the last

general elections, was the Director General of the President Muhammadu Buhari

Campaign Organisation, a position he also held successfully in the 2015

presidential polls.

Amaechi is also the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, a position which he

held for eight years after being Speaker of the State’s House of Assembly, also

for eight uninterrupted years, during the tenure of Dr. Peter Odili as Governor

of the State.

From the going alone, it is easy to discern that Chief Amaechi is an achiever, a

a consummate politician, a team player and a go-getter.

He was there when the foundation of the Rivers State of today was laid, he was

there when the building blocks of the state were being put in place and,

indeed, played a leading role in the development of the state to what is today.

Indeed, to his credit is the fact that he ran cultists and militants that now

seem to be returning to their trenches out of town during his tenure as

Governor.

Along the line, however, forces, fifth columnists, have emerged that are trying

very hard to rewrite the history of his contributions which are already well

embossed in gold in annals of history. These are the same forces, who, in

collusion with other forces of retrogression in the state and beyond that have

tried severally without success to stop his meteoric but well merited rise to

national political lime-light.

They tried very hard to stop him from becoming Governor of Rivers State after

Dr. Odili but failed woefully. He is not called the Lion of the Niger Delta for

nothing. He fought them off and battled them every inch of the way till he

retrieved his gubernatorial mandate at the Supreme Court of Nigeria to popular

acclaim and to their eternal shame.

They did not stop there. They went ahead to put all manner of hurdles on his way

to success in his first term as governor, but he scaled them all and recorded a

successful tenure. In spite of them and their shenanigans, he went on to secure

his second term in office and also acquitted himself creditably.

He brushed aside the feeble opposition from within the state and moved on sure-

footedly to the national scene where he became a rallying point for governors of

the Southern states of the country and the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’

Forum. At this point in his political career, he built most of the very solid

bridges of understanding and friendship across the length and breadth of the

country that have served Nigeria well.

An activist in government, he led the Forum of the 36 states’ governors very

successfully and from that pedestal advanced several laudable courses, and it is

easy to notice that since after his tenure, the Governors’ Forum has been a

shadow of itself.

His second term in office as governor saw him weathering many fierce storms of

opposition, especially with the then President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and his

wife, Patience, deciding that he was their problem that must be got out of

the way.

They unleashed the federal might on him but he proved equal to the task. When,

eventually, he teamed up with some other governors and political forces and

moved out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) the country felt the tremor and

when they went ahead to form the All Progressives Congress (APC), with him in the

driving seat with some others, political pundits knew that the game was up for

Jonathan and the PDP.

Within the APC, he again played a very major role in the emergence of Muhammadu

Buhari as candidate of the party at the Lagos Congress of the party and many
were sure that he would be announced the Vice-Presidential candidate of the

party, but again, some power mongers in the APC conspired and worked against his

emergence.

He, again, quickly overcame that hurdle and Alhaji Buhari, who knows how key

Amaechi was to his emergence had no second thoughts appointing him the Director

General of his Presidential Campaign Organisation.

His exploits in that office that saw Buhari, the opposition party’s candidate

defeating the incumbent president, a rarity in Africa as a whole and first time

such was happening in Nigeria, are now part of history that cannot be erased,

diminished or distorted, however hard his harshest critics work to achieve these

ends.

The same forces of darkness that have been at work trying to use their little

palms to cover his rising sun from shinning brightly for Nigeria are still at

work today, joined by other putative forces of retrogression, trying to rewrite

history, spinning false tales in a bid to paint him in negative colours before

his people of Rivers State and the Niger Delta and before President Buhari, to

try to force a wedge between them.

They failed woefully before, they will fail again, because no one can use their

palms to cover the shining sun or the full moon. As no power was able to stop

him before, no gang -up, from within Rivers State, from within the Niger Delta

or even from within or outside the APC will be able to put a wedge between him

and the president, between him and the people of Nigeria or between him and his

people in Rivers State and the Niger Delta.

Dr. Abuchi wrote from Lagos