(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – In a world where human wants far exceeds the resources available, it is not possible for the desires of all men to be met at the same time. Unfortunately, this reality of life is not considered by many in their expectations, especially in the political theatre where relationships are motivated by selfish interests. This the challenge facing political leaders like Rt.Hon.Chibuike Amaechi, Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Transportation. The situation is worsened by the entitlement mentality which makes many supporters to directly or indirectly expect that they be given priority, over and above others in the distribution of largesse. While those who are favoured per time praise the leader of being a good man, those who are yet to get misinterpret the delay as marginalization.
However, every objective follower of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi’s antecedents in leadership, can attest that, within the limits of human imperfection, the Ubima born politician has dealt justly with people. During his days as Governor of Rivers State between 2007 and 2015, there was widespread prosperity. This was manifested in the education, health and other key sectors of the economy, and life was good as money and goodwill circulated freely from the areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration. Expectedly, many sang his praises and were accordingly rewarded for their loyalty. And as long as the patronage was flowing, the queue of loyalists was increasing, and the former Governor was described as God sent.
Like they say, times change and people change also. At the end of his second tenure as Governor of Rivers State, Rt.Hon. Amaechi was lucky to have another political appointment as Minister of Transportation for four years.That opportunity, though not as juicy as the office of Governor of Rivers State, held some promise and so restrained some of his loyalists from deserting him.
However, because of the limited opportunities, the former speaker’s capacity to extend patronages was significantly reduced, and this development resulted in the loss of some of his political associates. Truth be told the experience is not unusual in political associations that are oportunistic in nature.
Amaechi’s recent resignation from office as Transportation Minister, to contest for the presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress, in the eyes of some of his associates, to mark the end of his political relevance in a society where politics is about personal interests rather than public good.
It is not debatable that Rt. Hon. Amaechi has been fair in his dealings with his supporters vis -a-vis the limited opportunities that were at his disposal. Hon. Oji Ngofa, from Eleme was given an opportunuty to serve as Ambassador, and Dr. Maureen Tamuno from Ogu/ Bolo is currently serving as Ambassador. Dr. Dakuku Peterside, from Opobo, served as Director – General of NIMASA, while Honourable Asita, from Ahoada – West is currently serving as Chairman of the same agency.
Time will fail us to write about Ibim Semenitari, from Okrika and Oyirinda Amadi, from Ikwerre who served at different times as Chief Executives of the Nigeria Delta Development Commission. Dr
Sekonte Davies, from Degema served as Executive Director at Nigerian Ports Authority just as Hon. Onari Brown, from Akuku-Toru, is currently serving as Executive Director at Nigerian Ports Authority. Most recently, Hon. Udi Odum, from Abua was appointed minister of the Federal Republic, and has since been sworn in as Minister of State for Environment.The list of those who benefited from Amaechi is a long one.
From all indications, some of Amaechi’s political associates may have been eyeing the ministerial position that was given to Hon. Udi Odum but that office can only go to one person at a time. Meanwhile some political analysts who spoke with Notable Outcome in Port Harcourt have described the zoning of the ministerial appointment to Abua /Odual LGA as an important statement of inclusiveness in Rt.Hon. Chibuike Amaechi’s leadership style. According to them, the appointment, the first in history, has given the people of Abua a fabulous sense of belonging.
Ironically, some of those who have deserted the former minister and his party stand very good chances of being recommended for one position or the other in future, just as Amaechi had generously favoured them in the past. Curiously, in this clime, loyalty tend to end where patronage ends.
The economists tell us that human wants are many, while the resources or opportunities are grossly inadequate. In the circumstance, there has to be some kind of prioritization and balancing which, naturally, may not favour every body at the same time. Amaechi’s dilemma is that almost all those around him would want to be preferred over and above others, and that is not possible – because it is impossible to please every body at the same time.
While some show some understanding, those who feel that they have waited enough desert their benefactor, and this happens to be the natural progression in our own clime, where politics is a game of selfish interests and opportunism. In the circumstance, the only penacea is another position that can improve the leader’s capacity to dispense patronages.However whether that happens in the short term or not, history will be fair to Amaechi that he dealt fairly with all men.
What is happening to Rt. Hon. Amaechi is not peculiar to him. It is a fact of life, just as our elders say that, “prosperity makes friends but adversity proves them”. It will be appropriate to conclude this piece by advising leaders who mean well never to get tired of doing what is right because every man shall be accountable for his actions someday.