(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) – Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is a good man: A generous man, who is straight forward and liked his friends to a fault! However, like every human, Amaechi, former governor of Rivers State has his own areas of weaknesses and strengths. It is alleged that he hardly forgives, especially when people betray him and finds it difficult to conceal his intentions.
In the last close to twenty years when Rt. Hon. Amaechi bestrode the politics of Rivers State like a colossus, first as speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly between 1999 and 2007, and as governor of Rivers State between 2007 and 2015, the Ubima born politician, who passed through Dr. Peter Odili School of Politics came across several young men and women in the state and changed the lives of many.
He used his positions to secure appointments, jobs, contracts and other benefits for those who were close enough to him, and they run into hundreds, across the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State: And his influence and goodwill extended beyond Rivers State.
While the party lasted, these beneficiaries did his bidding and overlooked his inadequacies. However, things began to fall apart about two years before the end of his second tenure as governor of Rivers State, when some of his loyalists began to fall out with him. With time, some of them began to muster the courage to challenge his decisions and assert their independence.
While some of the conflicts, which have dogged his political career, were natural, some were unnecessary. They are many, and for the purpose of this piece, we will fast forward to Amaechi’s lingering feud with Senator Magnus Abe.
Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, who is Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation is not favourably disposed to Senator Abe flying the governorship ticket of the All Progressives Congress in Rivers State in 2019.He talks about it and allegedly instigates people against Abe’s ambition.
Our position is that, Amaechi, like any other stakeholder in a democracy has the right to support a candidate of his choice, just as every one has the right to aspire to any office in the land. However, our worry lies with how the former governor goes about his opposition to an idea which he considers unacceptable to him.
We believe that confrontation is not a healthy approach to expressing one’s preference, especially when one is fully in control, the way Amaechi has been. He may not know it, all those who are urging him on are selfish people who do not care about his goodwill his future.
Interestingly, all that Amaechi needed to do was to put machinery in place that will favour his preferred aspirant, while allowing everybody to aspire. At the end of the day, his preferred candidate will emerge, and if there are some misgivings they could be explained away, and the aggrieved will be appeased.
We are worried that what looks like the weaknesses of the Minister in public relations is undermining his immense good will, so much so that, most of those he helped to become relevant in life and politics have deserted him, some becoming his worst enemies. What is the guarantee that those he is fighting for today will not turn against him tomorrow unless there is soul searching, and a determined move to change the way certain things are said and done?
We recommend a change of strategy in his public relations. It is not too late. An objective introspection is what the minister requires – to take a critical look at his actions and reactions of people. Any one who truly cares about Amaechi should know that time has come for him to make more friends than enemies in Rivers State and beyond.
His actions, reactions and outcomes in the last few years can also give an him an idea of what may likely happen in the future, if the same mindset is allowed to dominate his actions.
Our considered opinion is that, times change, and people also change. Let him do the needful by re-inventing himself and save his goodwill from being eroded. We believe that it is possible.
Iheanyi Ezinwo is the publisher of Notable Outcome, Port Harcourt. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 08068756996.