BY Eze Chukwuemeka Eze
Today, in the politics of Nigeria, the only major assignment of most politicians as they strategise for the 2019 general elections is how to either castigate or fabricate lies to run down Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the erstwhile governor of Rivers State and incumbent Minister of Transportation of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If they are not doing this, these misguided politicians are busy on how to ensure that his political structure is dismantled.
Today, in the politics of our country, Amaechi stands out as one of the most vilified, persecuted and harassed politician in the history of our country. As a concerned Nigerian and one who has followed religiously the politics of this enigma and misunderstood leader of our time, it behoves on me to attempt to x-ray some of these travails and current strategy being explored to ensure the irrelevance of this man come 2019. Sadly, this is a man that ought to be celebrated for freeing Nigeria and Nigerians from the calamitous shackles of an administration that trades more in the arts and acts of looting of our common patrimony with impunity, instead, he is being vilified by those who would have preferred the promotion and sustenance of an administration that would have collapsed this country by now.
Some of the facts on how Amaechi suffers in the hands of these politicians are presented below for you the reader to judge:-
When it was very obvious that Amaechi has nothing to do with the $43 million discovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a luxurious apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos State, the soon to be rested Ahmed Makarfi-led-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) faction and her sponsors, in order to create sensation, they have to link Amaechi to the ownership of the said sum. Through her agents, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode who went to town shouting themselves hoarse to their shame and bewilderment of Nigerians that the fund not only belongs to Amaechi, that Amaechi is the owner of the said luxurious apartment.
Governor Wike went to a ridiculous level by alleging that the sum was Rivers State Government fund looted by Amaechi when he was in office as Governor of the state. He threatened to sue the Federal Government, if it fails to return the money to the coffers of the Rivers State Government within two weeks. He claimed that he has documents to prove that the said sum belongs to Rivers State. It is now over a month after this threat; Wike is yet to sue the Federal Government in this regard.
The fact remains and it is on record that, apart from the Abuja residence of Amaechi, he has no other single plot of land in any part of this country, so linking him to the ownership of the contentious Ikoyi estate and the huge sum found in it is nothing but an invidious plot to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. It is sad and shameful that a frustrated and disgraceful group, with Wike and Fayose as the key actors, should attempt to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of Amaechi just because he collaborated with other patriotic Nigerians to oust a regime that is now exposed as the most corrupt ever in the history of Nigeria.
Recently, Mr Felix Obuah, State chairman of the soon to be rested PDP faction issued a statement celebrating a phantom court judgment authorising the Rivers State Government to go ahead to set up a judicial commission to probe some aspects of the administration of Amaechi during his tenure as governor of Rivers State. Mr. Felix Obuah who was once saved from the pangs of death by Amaechi derives much pleasure these days in carrying out his master-task of ridiculing Amaechi and calling for his sack from the Federal Executive Council of Nigeria.
Recently also, these enemies of democracy have taken their trade to another level are currently strategising on how to dismantle all the political structures belonging to Amaechi. In this regard, they have engineered divisions in the Rivers State All Progressives Congress (APC) to ensure that the party is not united, strong, and viable to salvage the state from the hands of those that have turned the state into ‘Rivers of blood’. Today, the only thing we hear from Rivers State is Amaechi’s faction, Abe’s faction, Dakuku’s faction and, maybe, by tomorrow they will come up with Eze’s faction.
Let me state without equivocation that Rivers State APC is one united family under the able leadership of Rt. Hon Amaechi as its leader as the factions only exist in the minds of those who want the continuous killing of our people with impunity. All these lies and attempts of a divided Rivers APC are aimed at setting confusion in the party that is being restructured and positioned as one egalitarian, viable, virile and credible structure to salvage the state from the hands of those whose only source and means of leadership is the ceaseless and senseless killing of Rivers State people.
It may interest you, dear reader, to know that all these desperate, mischievous, wicked, diabolical, evil attempts are aimed to run down an innocent man, whose only crime is that he led APC to defeat a party that prides itself as the largest political party in Africa. It is very sad and unfortunate that over two years that Amaechi led APC to dust PDP in the 2015 general elections; the soon to be rested PDP factional leadership has refused to forgive Amaechi for disgracing them out of power and salvaging our nation from a system whose corruptive tendency is not only contagious but legendary.
Let me state that this group not only is deadly but is ever ready and capable to do anything in order to ridicule, rubbish and bring Amaechi down including praying for the death of President Muhammadu Buhari if that will enable them get at Amaechi as soon as possible but they seem to forgot that they are not God who assisted Nigerians to elect Buhari as the President of Nigeria and that this God is very capable not only to protect but secure the life of Mr. President until it is his time for him to join his ancestors. Even as we know that the efforts and schemes of this group will amount to an exercise in futility if the spiritual meanings of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi are anything to go by – Chibuike means “God is all Powerful” and “Rotimi” an abridged version of “Oluwadurotimi” meaning “the Lord stands by me”, while Amaechi means “who knows tomorrow?”.
Let me state that I intend in this treatise after formally presenting to you the reader the person and personality of Amaechi attempt to expose other steps both past and present this group has adopted in their single mission of destroying Amaechi and then leave you the reader to take your own stand.
Profiling Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON, Hon Minister of Transportation
Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, who was on Nov. 11, 2015 sworn-in as Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Transportation, was born in Ubima, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, to the family of late Elder Fidelis Amaechi and Mrs Mary Amaechi. University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State, was where Amaechi laid the foundation of his political life, participating actively in student union politics, especially in the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS), of which he was president, and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).
After graduation, he cut his teeth in politics as secretary of the now defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, from 1992 to 1994 he was Special Assistant to Dr Peter Odili, then deputy governor of Rivers State; member of the Board of West Africa Glass Industry as well as Risonpalm Nigeria Limited. He was secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the Rivers State Chapter of the disbanded Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) in 1996 during the transition programme of the Gen Sani Abacha junta.
In 1999, Amaechi contested and won a seat to become a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly to represent his constituency. He was subsequently elected Speaker of the House of Assembly as well as Chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies. He was re-elected into the State House of Assembly in May 2003 and equally re-elected Speaker. A master’s degree holder, Amaechi’s assumption of office as governor of Rivers State, based on a Supreme Court judgment after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dumped him, despite his convincingly winning the party’s gubernatorial ticket, remains a mystery to many political watchers in the country. He was a two time Governor of Rivers State and two time Chairman of Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). His unprecedented feats in the transformation of Rivers State have won him many international and local awards as well as the respect of great world and Nigerian leaders.
Amaechi was the rallying force behind mobilizing the governors under PDP to support the presidential aspiration of Dr Goodluck Jonathan during the PDP Presidential Primaries that produced Jonathan as the PDP flag-bearer and during the 2011 presidential election proper ensured that President Jonathan got over 2 million votes from Rivers State – the highest by any state in Nigeria then. A misunderstood but an amiable personality; his forthrightness and boldness to stand by the truth attracts so much enemies to him, particularly those who cannot withstand his manner of approach to result-oriented feats. His numerous ‘sins’ will be highlighted later.
Amaechi, holder of the National honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), is a Christian of the Catholic faith where he is a Knight of St John. Amaechi was appointed Director-General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign. The team led the party to victory in the March 28, 2015 presidential election in which a sitting president was roundly defeated for the first time. He is the incumbent Minister of Transportation.
Amaechi and the wrath of his people
Apart from the fact that Amaechi may have incurred the wrath of his people and some vested powerful interest in Niger Delta, by spearheading the defeat of their brother (Dr Goodluck Jonathan) who performed so woefully as president of Nigeria, Amaechi supported and promoted a northerner and a Muslim against his Christian brother. To them, he must be destroyed by any means possible. But these people failed to understand that undermining Amaechi will ensure that the South-south does not have a strong voice in the administration of President Buhari.
Chief Nyesom Wike, sadly, allowed himself to be used as a tool by former President Jonathan, his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, and their collaborators in their blind ambition to destroy Amaechi, whom they saw as a threat to their continued plundering of the common patrimony of our nation. The third factor was the gathering or unification of those that see Amaechi as a threat to the realisation of their political ambitions in Rivers State.
The last, but not the least, was the ambition of Chief Nyesom Wike to govern Rivers State, which many never knew until it was too late to stop him. It was his ambition and readiness to provide himself as a tool for the realisation of the goal – which was to destroy Amaechi by any means – that united all these other groups. They embarked upon this project with zeal without knowing the end but, knowing what future portends for Wike, Amaechi and Jonathan, I did my best to dissuade them from this unwarranted struggle; but Wike and Jonathan refused to see reason. The result was the failure of Jonathan to survive the 2015 general elections.
How Amaechi became the rallying point for the decimation of PDP
John Maxwell and General Montgomery must have had Amaechi in mind when they stated respectively that, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way” and “My own definition of leadership is this: The capacity and the will to rally men and women to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence”. These quotes by these great men simply attest to the ability of Amaechi to conceive the way and mobilise Nigerians to send packing a party that prides itself as the largest and biggest political movement in Africa. How did he achieve this uncommon feat is stated below.
The decimation of PDP commenced when in its desperation the PDP Leadership then embarked upon a journey codenamed “Why Amaechi must be destroyed”. This drive led to Amaechi’is departure from the party, alongside six other PDP Governors, to form the New PDP, with five of them later joining the mega opposition political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Explaining why he joined APC, Amaechi said: “Unfortunately, recent events within the PDP have given me reason to reconsider our collective interest as people of the South South and indeed as Rivers people. At various times, as the one whom you gave your mandate, I had cause to complain about the marginalisation of our State and our people despite our huge contribution to the national coffers and our unflinching commitment and support for the ruling PDP. While the political and economic importance of Rivers State cannot be contested, we continue to hold the shorter end of the stick.
“A few instances may suffice: Our demand that the Federal Government return oil wells belonging to Rivers State to us has gone unheeded and been treated with levity under this administration. Rather, our oil wells have been ceded to Bayelsa, Abia and Akwa Ibom states. Even after we got a judgment that the oil wells were wrongly ceded to Akwa Ibom State and should be returned to us; only dry wells that were no longer producing oil were returned.
“In the specific case of the Soku oil wells, despite a decision reached that the monies should remain in an escrow account till all matters concerning it are resolved, the Federal government continues to pay neighbouring Bayelsa State the revenues meant for Rivers State in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is indeed noteworthy that we have made several representations formally and informally on this matter.
“A second instance is the total absence of federal presence in Rivers State. The ‘National Good Governance Tour’ provided a good opportunity for the Federal Government to showcase its presence in Rivers State. The tour, if nothing else, proved that there was not much to show in a state that is the cash cow of the federation. The East-West Road remains abandoned, work has been deliberately slow on the Port Harcourt International Airport, the third busiest airport in the country, while all airports started along with it have long been completed and commissioned. The Bonny-Bomu Road that leads to the only functional liquefied natural gas project remains uncompleted. In the midst of all these, our administration went ahead to fix federal roads to the tune of N103 billion. Several representations and letters after, not one kobo has been repaid. The Federal Government is actively discouraging investments in Rivers State.”
Despite Amaechi’s great show of love to former President Jonathan, he was subjected to monumental humiliation by the Jonathan’s Administration. A few examples: The plane of the Rivers State Government was grounded for no just cause, the PDP Structure in Rivers State was taken away from him, and his election as the Chairman of NGF duly certified and acknowledged worldwide was annulled by ex- President Jonathan and his cohorts. As if that was not enough, Amaechi was suspended from a party he so much loved and spent so much to build. Indeed, if not for divine providence, he would have been illegally impeached by five legislators in a House of 32 members; a Police Commissioner by name Mr. Joseph Mbu was posted to haunt, insult and abuse him publicly, calling him a despot. What is more, some ex Governors that came to visit him were stoned by Wike’s boys! In the eyes of Nigerians, Amaechi stands as a great man while in the eyes of those haunting him he is a persona non grata.
Amaechi was ambushed and refused entry . . . into Ekiti by military personnel acting on orders from above and was made to turn back and return to Akure where his chartered aircraft was parked but was chased and rounded by armed soldiers and security personnel in Odudu, Ondo State. According to the captain who led the operation, he had orders not to allow the Amaechi entry or exit.” There was also an attempt later made to detain him at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, when he went to felicitate with the then new Emir of Kano, HRH Alh Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Wike’s single agenda
Chief Nyesom Wike’s desperation to drag Amaechi’s name in the mud in order to frustrate his nomination or appointment as a minster, made he (Wike) to sponsor a satanic documentary on Amaechi aired on Africa Independent Television (AIT). This satanic documentary was part of Wike’s propaganda war against Amaechi, for which he earmarked billions of naira in his wicked plot to destroy and decimate the person and character of Amaechi.
Other propaganda tools planned and deployed during this period, in the war against Amaechi, include sponsored publications such as advertorials, columns, editorials and Op-Ed articles in major international, national and local print media; sponsored personality discussion programmes in the electronic media and sponsored special documentaries on television and radio through independent groups and organisations.
This insidious plot by Wike include commissioning a team made up of persons within and outside Rivers State to ‘initiate, formulate and contrive false damaging reports bordering on alleged corrupt practices by Amaechi, which were circulated to individuals and institutions within Nigeria and abroad with a view to damaging the incorruptible character and rising profile of Hon Rotimi Amaechi, in order to blackmail and put pressure on President Buhari not to appoint the former governor into his government. These cooked reports to the shock of many Nigerians was sent to the Senate and presented through one misguided Senator Thompson Sekibo, which the Senate referred to the Ethics Committee of the Senate, which caused the delay in Amaechi’s screening and confirmation as a minister. Amaechi has through both the immediate past Secretary to the Rivers State Government, George Feyi, and the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Chamberlain Peterside, and others denied any form of corruption against him by Wike and his cohorts.
Wike did not stop at these but went further to set up Justice George Omereji Panel, to investigate the administration of Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi. Though the panel did not found any wrong-dealing, or corrupt practices by Amaechi, Wike went ahead to issue a white paper indicting him of embezzling the sum of N53 billion, How on earth can someone in his right senses describe funds withdrawn with the approval of the legislature and spent as prescribed by the state budget to be missing? Wike, in his desperation to stop Amaechi’s appointment as a minister, resorted to dancing naked in the market place.
But as God will have it, and contrary to the expectations of Chief Wike and his gang of miserable ingrates, their ferocious campaign to blackmail, disparage and portray Amaechi as a very corrupt person unfit to be appointed as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, failed to achieve the desired objective; as on September 30, 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari went ahead to list and submit the name of Chibuike Amaechi along with those of 20 other great Nigerians as ministerial nominees to the Senate for confirmation.
And to the shock and chagrin of Wike and his cohorts, the Senate, after three sittings on the ministerial screening of the ministerial nominees, screened Amaechi on October 22, 2015 and formally confirmed him on October 29, 2015. He was subsequently sworn-in with the 35 other ministers on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, by President Buhari, who as a further mark of confidence in the Lion of Ubima assigned to him the strategically important Ministry of Transportation.
Nigerians can now attest that Amaechi stands as the most vilified, persecuted politician in Nigeria for his bravery, patriotism and commitment to work for a better future for our country. I remain convinced that God who has seen him this far will always safeguard him from the Wikes and Fayoses, whose favourite pastime is their obsession to plot Amaechi’s downfall – a satanic project which Almighty God will continue to frustrate to the shame of all the Wikes, Fayoses and Fani-Kayodes of this world.
Let me urge and plead with the Wikes, Fayoses and their cohorts to try and listen to Thomas Babington Macaulay who postulated that, “To punish a man because we infer from the nature of some doctrine which he holds, or from the conduct of other persons who hold the same doctrines with him, that he will commit a crime, is persecution, and is, in every case, foolish and wicked” and try and leave Amaechi alone.
I will conclude this treatise by using the quote of Rita Levi-Montalcini a Nobel award winner, “If I had not been discriminated against or had not suffered persecution, I would never have received the Nobel Prize” to encourage Amaechi that he should not be dismayed as one day Nigerians will gather to celebrate him for offering himself as a rallying point to ouster an administration that never meant any good for this country.
Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt, and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and 08038199163.
– The opinions and views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer/author, and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Headline News Nigeria.