In the course of the historic campaigns for the 2015 Presidential election I was emphatic that the election itself was a great opportunity to popularise and test the noble idea of a Common Sense Revolution in Nigeria. Soon enough we found in the resonance of the APC Change mantra with the electorate a confirmation that Nigeria needed a Common Sense Revolution that is non-violent.
Indeed there is a publication with that title authored by me in which I argued that Nigeria was ripe for a change of leadership and Nigerians must act in a Common Sense and rational way in choosing their leaders. The results of the March Presidential elections and that of April have demonstrated clearly the desire by Nigerians for change.
Elections over, both the leaders and citizens must brace up to meet the challenges required to build a better, more prosperous nation. Indeed, even as we subscribe to the tenets of Common Sense Revolution, we must retool ourselves; the new leadership must embark on policies that will improve the general wellbeing of the mass of our people.
Permit me to recall here how I once attempted to encapsulate the idea of Common Sense Revolution: “… This revolution is not a violent one to tear things down, it is a revolution to rescue us from violence, injustice and poverty.
“It is a positive one to rescue, repair and restructure the nation and its institutions in ways that further our collective prosperity and well-being. The only violence that is to be done is to violence, injustice and poverty themselves. At its essence, a common sense revolution is a call to return to a level of decency in the relationship between government and the governed, between each one of us and his neighbour…”
That was at the commissioning of people-centred projects on March 23, 2015 in Kano under the leadership of Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
We are here today, because one of the generals in the Common Sense Revolution Army, Rotimi Amaechi is bold and willing to show the world what he has achieved in the task to chart the critical path to total political and economic emancipation of the people whose mandate he enjoyed for eight years.
In my view, our gathering to celebrate the landmark achievements of my brother, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, in Rivers State in the last eight years is also another justifiable celebration of idea of Common Sense Revolution for development. The publication of the book, Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years is a timely service to history. This occasion is all the more remarkable because of the huge challenges Amaechi has been facing especially in his second term from an extremely hostile federal government. His role as the chairman of the Governors’ Forum invariably brought him into a bitter collision with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Governor Amaechi and most of the governors want a properly defined federalist relationship with the government at the centre. The President would have none of that as in the notable example of the management of the federation account. This is, therefore, another great opportunity to salute Amaechi’s rare courage of conviction and sense of purpose. The All Progressives Congress (APC) has every cause to be proud of him.
You can, therefore, imagine how much gratified I feel at the immense intellectual efforts invested in the publication of Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years. I salute the editors and authors of essays in the book. It is thoughtful of them to document the legacy of Amaechi in Rivers state. The high quality schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, security and human capacity projects, among others, richly documented in the book are a testimony that social democratic ideas can indeed be implemented in this clime.
It is our hope that the legacy of governance for genuine development that Amaechi is leaving behind in Rivers would inspire state governments to make the welfare and security of the people the focus of governance. It is important to empahasise that security here includes social security if the war against poverty must be won.
The APC change agenda is anchored on the three Rs- Reform, Relief, Relief, and Recovery. It is the Tripod upon which Nigeria must operate in order to unleash her potentials.
Rotimi will go on from here to continue to serve Nigeria in key positions. He will not be alone. He will share the company of many change agents and professionals who have cast their lots with the new political order under the Leadership of President elect, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Once more, I congratulate Governor Amaechi as he leaves behind this proud legacy in Rivers State.
· Tinubu, APC National Leader, delivered the speech as Special Guest of Honour at the Public Presentation of Dynamics of Change: The Amaechi Years in Lagos on Thursday