How Will History Treat Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi Of Rivers State?
In a statement sent out after President Jonathan conceded defeat to General Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria's former Vice President Atiku Abubakar made an assertion which will continue to reverberate through history. He said of Jonathan "History will be kind to you".It was a ringing endorsement of the selflessness of the outgoing president.
Passing a judgement on Govenor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the other hand presents a conundrum.Lauded in some parts of Nigeria(especially outside Rivers State) as democracy's stand up guy owing to his battles against President Jonathan,and his monumental support of the incoming 'saintly' president,Amaechi comes across as the proverbial father who does more for outsiders than his own family members.
It is important that in writing about Rotimi Amaechi,one adopts a very objective stance and start from the very beginning of his governorship tenures.This was a man whom judicial 'magic' ensured that he became the governor of Rivers State during his first tenure without actually standing for the election.Yet most people in the state were overjoyed at that decision and many of us danced ecstatically at his emergence to the governorship seat.In fulfillment of all our wishes, Amaechi's first tenure was a joy to behold.
From infrastructural development,to security,and the running of an open and participatory government,he was everything any reasonable person would want as a leader.In those days,he was to a lot of us,the answer to the problem of leadership in the country.I have always argued that anybody resident in Rivers who did not like Amaechi during the first tenure was a sycophant who hated the man because he could not have access to the state's cake.For,in all honesty,Governor Amaechi had an outstanding first tenure.
Governor Amaechi's second tenure on the other hand was the flip-side to his first.Granted that he began well too,but in a rather slower pace.All that was to completely change for the worse when his battle with the Jonathans and their 'family' began.Even then,most people in the state stood by him.However,by the time he switched to the All Progressives Congress(APC),the governance of Rivers State became an abandoned project.
The man's entire focus then switched to a battle to win the presidency and the state for APC(not through better governance, but through unnecessary campaigns of calumny and expenditure).Civil servants,public servants,state projects,lawmakers,in fact,everybody in the state felt the scourge.But he was no longer interested in the people.His focus had changed to personal battles and he committed everything to fighing them no matter how badly the state was hurt.
It is well documented that desperate attempts were made by the Amaechi-led APC to ensure that governorship elections did not hold in the state.Fear gripped parts of the state as they went on rampage.When the results were declared,to further throw the state into confusion,he thought up something else; conduct local government elections. Indeed,his actions have shown that he is not in any way interested in putting the welfare of the state ahead of his own personal battles.He would rather see the state burn than let go of the shame he feels for not delivering the state to APC.
It is indeed laughable to hear him say "we will restore our stolen mandate".What stolen mandate?The truth is that majority of Rivers people will never vote for APC-- Amaechi made sure of that and I believe he knows that too. He had taken them to the point where the only thing the people crave is real change from his excesses. That was why APC lost the state during the state elections.That is why they will also continue to lose until the man, Amaechi, changes his ways.
As Governor Amaechi's tenure winds to a close,every action carried out by him so far is geared towards disrupting the peace of the state and stifling development.Almost everybody in the state knows this and is fed up. When I talked to some common people on the streets, almost all their views were the same; "He should please go to Abuja and let us be in peace".
Secure in his belief that he 'owns' the centre,Governor Amaechi no longer cares about the welfare of Rivers State.So to him,the state rather burns down than for him to lose his petty battles,or fail to keep his ego intact.
The question he should however be asking himself right now is; 'How will history treat me?'.As for the average Rivers man/woman,we just want one thing; leave us alone to live in peace.