By Okanga Agila
It is accurate to assert that Nigeria as a nation now has overcome the problem of uncommitted and dishonest leadership, with President Muhammadu Buhari on the saddle. And a few of his appointees like the Transport and Aviation Minister, Chief Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi have the same mindset, thoughts and direction about the emancipation of this beloved country. The misfortune plaguing the nation currently is paucity of funds.
Nigerians often talk of the “body language” of the President as influencing the conduct of his political appointees positively or negatively. And Amaechi particularly is not just an ardent believer in President Buhari’s political and leadership ideologies; but both share similarities in governance like Siamese twins. Therefore, in Amaechi’s public engagement with Nigerians, one observes a complete display of Buhari leadership attributes.
Both President Buhari and Amaechi are strict believers in the doctrine of hard work and infinite concern for a united Nigeria. The masses of Nigeria are their defining cause of action permanently and both are incorruptible, hate ethnic bigotry; abhor injustice and inequality. They talk less and act more; believe in due process. But most importantly, both have an irrevocable conviction in the redemption of Nigeria from the shackles of poverty, underdevelopment and retardation.
Every Nigerian honest to himself would admit that had the nation access to the stupendous national wealth at the disposal of previous leaderships in the country, the regeneration of Nigeria under President Buhari would have been nearing completion now. But even with the little, Buhari’s prudent management of these resources has achieved much in different sectors.
This mindset is replicated by Amaechi in the transport sector, where his workaholic instincts are taking the transport sector to a higher pedestal. So, despite lean resources, Amaechi has anchored the construction of various rail lines in Northern and Southern parts of the country, some of which have been commissioned.
The second Airport Runway project at the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport Abuja is a master piece; while the Lagos, Port Harcourt and Enugu airport terminals’facelifts are almost completed. Only a determined worker can achieve these results in less than three years, given the economic realities.
If there is one leader in Nigeria who truly believes in the comfort and succor of the masses, it is Amaechi. Right from his days as Assembly Speaker and eventually, Governor of Rivers state, all his policies and programmes had the populist, masses appeal. Like President Buhari, ameliorating the plight of the masses has been their paramount conviction.
As transport minister, Amaechi’s unyielding determination to fix the railways, more than anything else is to provide alternative, cheap and affordable public transportation system for poor Nigerian masses.
Both the President and Amaechi are incorruptible leaders. Clearly, the politics of ego is being played by Amaechi’s successor, Governor Nyemson Wike who mouths everywhere about the alleged billions his predecessor embezzled when he served as Governor of the state. In spite of the allegations, Wike is now the custodian of the account books and documents of the past administration. Disappointingly, the Governor has been unable to tender any public document or shred of evidence to support his claim.
And added to the unjustifiable political persecution of Amaechi in public court, no Nigerian till this minute can pinpoint to any hotel, university or hospital built in the name of Amaechi, as justification for what is being claimed he looted. He is a rare leader in Nigeria who can rightly be described as the rich-poor man by choice. It is like his boss, President Buhari who has decided to be poor by choice, even though, he held money-spinning public positions at a tender age and is leading Nigeria for the second time today.
Again, on resumption of office, Amaechi met a maritime industry that was a cesspool of corruption. He instantly purged the system with the reforms he launched and today shippers are conducting business in an environment where merit rather than corruption thrives or influences transactions.
Amaechi resents ethnic bigotry like a plaque. When he revolted and campaigned against the reelection of former President Goodluck Jonathan, his “kinsmen”, in preference for President Buhari in 2015, he saw in the latter better leadership qualities to redeem his South-south people and Nigeia. At one of the campaigns fora, Amaechi boldly reminded Niger Deltans all the three refineries in the South-South were built by President Buhari, but their own son, as a serving President could not even revamp them.
Also, like Buhari, the transport minister abhors injustice and inequality in all ramifications. When Amaechi protested against the results of the Governor’s Forum election, which strangely, recognized 16 votes as greater than 19, it was not because he was the beneficiary.
But his innate aversion to injustice manifested. As transport minister, he has ensured even spread of projects under his jurisdiction and all are given equal attention in allocation of funds or progress of work.
With a charismatic and captivating leader like Amaechi, it was no surprise that President Buhari appointed him the Director–General of his 2019 reelection campaigns. A tested and proven leader at all levels, who has an admirable national outreach, driving the 2019 reelection train for President Buhari is a job already accomplished by half. Amaechi would have no impediments marketing the Buhari candidature any day, anywhere in Nigeria and the world.
Surely, Nigerians won’t find it difficult to listen to Amaechi and comprehend his message on Buhari’s comeback to the throne. It is simply because the masses believe in his firm leadership attributes, as someone who cannot just back a candidate for the exalted office of the President of Nigeria for the fun of it. The turncoats and the wailers wish it had not been Amaechi, because deep-down their hearts, they know him as an indisputable Mr. Fixer and an unbreakable iroko tree.
So, opposition elements who dread Amaechi’s campaign prowess are inventing reasons to discredit Buhari’s candidature before the hour. Some are laughably and belatedly questioning the integrity and age of President Buhari and all manner of spin doctors have sharpened their arsenals in readiness for a campaign “war” that does not exist in factual reality.
Nigerians abreast with the realities are amused at the latest tricks by these wolves in sheep’s clothing. It is an incontrovertible fact that time-tested Nigerian radicals have reaffirmed their belief in the integrity and experience of President Buhari, which are crucial qualities Nigerians need in a leader to lead the nation from the woods and the prevailing national predicaments.
To these clan of perpetual wailers and complainants, human rights activist and lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo, (SAN), has deflated their tantrums nicely. Kayamo, the official spokesperson of the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, for the 2019 elections says;
“…No one can argue that age has anything to do with the required integrity to be the President of a country. I also firmly believe that our value systems in politics and the society have been so damaged pre-2015, that a firm and experienced hand is needed to reset our collective psyche before we can set sail again.”
Additionally, Nigerians are reminded about what Keyamo’s older colleague and mentor, the respected human rights activist, Chief Gani Fawehinmi said as recent as 2007 on President Buhari’s leadership endowments thus;
“When we talk of anti-corruption war, there is no way you will exclude General Buhari. I don’t want to hear what a political party is going to do…Tell me who is leading the party, tell me who is leading the government, that’s my concern. It’s a matter of leadership …Some of those same forces and interests that saw the back of General Buhari in 1985 are still very much around with us. You can hear their voices getting louder of late, preaching hate and toiling hard to incite the people against the President.”
In essence, President Buhari is indubitably the man for the job in 2019 and Amaechi is the best man for the job. He is ready and set for the work. Nigeria would surely fare better, if they refused to be distracted like Fawehinmi cautioned, but attentively listen to the gospel from the pulpit of Amaechi, which he would bring to the people soonest.
Okanga writes from Agila, Benue State.