By Ifeanyi Maduako
Rotimi Amaechi is a former speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, former governor of Rivers State, and the incumbent minister of transportation. He allegedly graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with a bachelor’s degree in English. From his citation during the ministerial inauguration last year (2019) he had brief working experience as a public relations officer in Dr. Peter Odili’s clinic before venturing into politics. when Dr. Odili became the deputy governor of Rivers State in 1992, Amaechi was appointed as one of his aides.
When the Fourth Republic democratic dispensation birthed in 1999, Odili contested for the governorship of Rivers State and won. He propped up his “boy” (Amaechi) to contest for the House of Assembly seat. One Uche Okwukwu, who’s now a chieftain of Ohaneze Ndigbo, and who contested the same seat with Amaechi on the platform of the defunct All People’s Party (APP) reportedly won the election but Amaechi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was declared the winner.
However, since Odili who had emerged as the governor-elect, wanted Amaechi at all costs to become the speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
From the foregoing, it can be deduced that politics, especially the Nigerian type, has greatly benefitted Amaechi. It has buttered his bread for the past 21 consecutive years. Amaechi can’t be said to have become wealthy before venturing into politics. He can’t be classified or compared with politicians like Peter Obi and Peter Odili to mention but a few, who were professional in the business world and medicine before delving into politics. Amaechi doesn’t have a solid pedigree before this political dispensation made him very wealthy and influential.
Foremost literary giant, late Professor Chinua Achebe, in one of his classic novels wrote that “Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should never forget to be humble”. Amaechi is a classic example of a man whose palm kernel was cracked for him by a benevolent spirit. However, Amaechi, from all indications, didn’t reckon or take Chinua Achebe’s admonition. Amaechi is one politician whose ego and temperature are as huge as a mountain. Anything that does not go the way he wants it must be demolished. Anybody that disagrees with his view is automatically labeled as an enemy.
That the south-south region and by extension, the south-east region, lost the presidency of Nigeria in 2015, was a result of Amaechi’s ego, temperature, and arrogance. The way and manner Amaechi fought President Goodluck Jonathan to the point of breaking the calabash (the presidency of Nigeria) no northern governor would ever do that to a fellow northern president.
President Buhari has turned out to be the worst president in the history of Nigeria in all ramifications and indices of assessment. Curiously, no single northern governor is even opposing and attacking him, unlike the vicious manner Amaechi attacked President Jonathan.
Amaechi saw the chairmanship of a peer group (Nigeria’s governors’ forum) as an alternate or an equal to the president of Nigeria.
Does the current chairman of the forum, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, sees himself as alternate president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Does he attack President Buhari on daily basis? Does Amaechi realize the pain he inflicted on the south-south / southeast by teaming up with northerners to snatch the presidency out of the hand of President Jonathan? Did he realize that Jonathan’s presidency was divine intervention, a sort of miracle which may take several years for these two regions to taste the position again?
Amaechi’s latest posturing in the ongoing House of Representatives committee hearing is not surprising, but he should have realized that he’s now a political appointee, and no longer a governor where his words were laws in Rivers State.
National Assembly is an arm of government, and a committee represents the institution called the legislature. From the way and manner Amaechi has been defending his China loan, it’s obvious that he doesn’t want to entertain any questions. For him, they should just approve whatever loans he presents to them.
His unmitigated ego and arrogance made Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) not to field any candidate in the 2019 general elections. The rumor of Amaechi eyeing the presidency of Nigeria is laughable. Can a vice president Amaechi be loyal and submissive to any president, unlike Jonathan? Can Amaechi’s temperament allow him to last for six months in office as vice president of Nigeria? Does he have the kind of humility Jonathan has? And if he eventually becomes vice president to Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, whose ego is even bigger than Amaechi’s, can two of them work together harmoniously? Amaechi as President of Nigeria will set the nation into conflagration in just three months. He’s brash and unyielding to contrary views. He barks and spits fire with his eyes whenever he talks with a view to intimidate. What really did Odili see in Amaechi before making him the speaker and governor of Rivers State? Amaechi is unforgiving and can bear grudges for ages. Even when President Jonathan has moved on with his life, Amaechi continues to fight him five years after leaving office.
The recent local railways terminal he named after Jonathan is actually not an honor but to belittle Jonathan in his continued antagonism against the humble former president. Why didn’t Amaechi name other terminals after Gowon, Shagari, IBB, Abacha, Abdulsalami, Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, and Buhari who are Jonathan’s contemporaries? Why singling out Jonathan to name a railways terminal after him among a group of inferiors or regional leaders? No matter what Amaechi does or tries to belittle Jonathan, he can never change Jonathan’s history until this world ends. Even if Amaechi or any other person from the south-south becomes the president of Nigeria tomorrow, Jonathan remains the first elected president of Nigeria from the south-south region of this country until this world ends.
Maduako writes from Owerri, (08061562735).