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Rotimi Amaechi: Reviled and misunderstood

 

Professor Claude Ake, one of Nigeria celebrated political scientists in an address at the Nigerian Political Science Association in 1981 posited, ………”We are intoxicated with politics. The premium on political power is so high that we are prone to take the most extreme measures to win and to maintain political power….”. Politics becomes warfare, a matter of life and death.

Recently, a group of Moderate Rivers Professionals cried out over the damaging effect of Rotimi Amaechi/ Nyesom Wike political divide. Their grouse is that almost one year after the election, the political tension is still high in Rivers State and if not checkmated, may end in catastrophe.

According to the group, the Amaechi/ Wike tussle representing APC and PDP is a fall out of personality clash during the tenure of Amaechi as governor of Rivers State and Nyemson Wike as Minister of State for Education. It was a fall out to the countdown of 2015 elections.

When as governor, Amaechi discovered that most of the oil wells in Rivers State had been ceded to neighbouring states. He cried at the injustice and ran to President Goodluck Jonathan to make a case. Rather than listening to him, he was treated with disdain. He approached the  court insisting the  oil wells are within the boundaries of Rivers State and should be returned.

 

Those lily-livered castigated Amaechi for his move and regarded it as act of insubordination. Amaechi stood his ground, maintaining that those who come to equity must go with clean hands.

Some political jobbers saw the action as a source of income and bought over the case from “Mama Peace”. Amaechi was branded a ‘Judas’ ready to betray his people. He explained to those who cared to listen but his traducers challenged him for daring and insulting the homestead of the former President. Amaechi pursued the court case demanding justice and like the visionary he is, the Moderate Rivers Professionals are now seeing the truth. The man who was yesterday hounded, branded a traitor is now appreciated for standing on the side of truth. The Moderate Rivers Professionals are now requesting the attack dogs to see reason. The chickens have come home to roost. The massive road projects, high-rise buildings, workshops/ seminars designed to appease sectional groups that Rivers State is working are now being bankrolled with overdrafts.

This is why once we are in power, we must be careful with what we say, because history beckons on us to account for our deeds. Amaechi all along has been telling Rivers people that his fight is just and that the broad societal values he has for the people cannot be diluted even now as Minister of Transportation.

He demonstrated it recently by ensuring that rail line from Port – Harcourt, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Benue, Jos, Bauchi, Gombe to Kano will definitely come on stream than expected. Do we need to doubt Amaechi’s statesmanship and political sagacity when he included the Calabar – Lagos rail line in the 2016 budget? He has promised that despite the tantrums of some misguided elements who survive on government house pecks, he will still be fair when it comes to distribution of amenities.

The attack dogs should stop behaving like the maddening crowd that killed Cinna, not minding whether he is ‘Cinna’ the Poet or ‘Cinna’ the Conspirator. Reality is that what Amaechi was fighting five years ago, is now taking its toll on the financial fortunes of Rivers State.  Eventually, the people will start feeling the pinch.

We call on Governor Wike to get down to governance. Rivers State has high political stakes and the more he feels threatened by imaginary and nonexistent issues, the more he will fail the people on their expectations. He should also call his attack dogs to order. We are also witnesses to his dismal role as Minister of State for Education. His only success story is the Almajiri Schools project that today is a springboard for Fulani herdsmen who are maiming, raping and destroying our farmlands. They should stop treating Rotimi Amaechi as a cartoon or a born again cowboy.

Finally, I commend the dexterity of Moderate Rivers Professionals as watchdog of the Rivers society. History will be on their side for speaking out when others are discrediting Amaechi.

For Governor Wike, he should hit the ground running and right the wrongs of yesterday. The governor should appreciate that our economy is more complicated today; hence, he has to compose a dedicated team that will drive the system and not charlatans with false knowledge of where he is going. Wike should know that false knowledge is more dangerous than ignorance and may be the bane of his government if he chooses that lonely path.

 

 

***Martins Frank lives and works in Port-Harcourt

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