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Rotimi Amaechi In History



The history of modern Nigerian politics, especially since the return to civil rule in 1999, cannot be written without generous space devoted to the personality of Rt Honourable Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. This enigma of a personality 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.

He 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 his political antecedents, it is easy to discern that Chief Amaechi is an achiever, a consummate politician, a team player and a goal-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 it 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 the annals of Nigeria’s history. These are the same forces who, in collusion with other forces of retrogression in the state and beyond, 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 Nigerian 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 breathe 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. 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 gotten 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 President 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 shining 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.


– Abuchi wrote from Lagos