Amaechi's Excuse for a New Jet: Black Man with 'Black' Brain
Barely two weeks Governor Chibuike Amaechi-led administration of Rivers State banned the plying of tricycles, popularly known and called Keke on the streets of Port Harcourt and its environs, than Amaechi influenced misplacement of priority by telling Nigerians his predatory quest for a new jet, without being any considerate as people are going through hard times. Amaechi didn't wink to say that his life depended on the new jet for traveling if it was not bought because he does not feel safe in the jet at hand he uses for official trips, which was procured by Dr. Peter Odili, his predecessor; Amaechi averred that the jet at hand was not big enough to resist changes in weather conditions; he said that this condition makes it dangerous for him to fly in it. Since he made the assertion, Nigerians have been adding their voices in favour or against his claim and request. Dr. Abiye Sekibo, the 2011 gubernatorial candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state has since accused Amaechi of planning to buy a new plane valued at $48 million (about N7.5 billion), but Amaechi has rebuffed the claim and put the statement in the manner it would be correct to him, saying that the state was only trading an old aircraft for a new and better one. While Amaechi claimed this, it was not known, the value of the new jet as well, as Amaechi did not disclose that to the members of the society. He also failed to unveil the difference in amount between the 'old' jet and the new one.
Nigerians have been asking for an explanation why a governor of any state in Nigeria should need a private jet. Some have said that by Amaechi's rapacious statement, their love for him is dwindling. The question of the road he would ply before hitting the Omagwa Airport, Port Harcourt before taking off in the would-be plane have been asked, as many roads in the state are dilapidating and many of them are still under reconstruction. The need to address this and infrastructural decays in the state is paramount to Nigerians before Amaechi should think that buying a private jet would make one seem that he or she has arrived.
"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,' said Lord Acton, and one time president of Nigeria, Yakubu Gowon, said, "we don't have problem about money but the problem is how to spend it." Gowon said this close to fifty years ago when Amaechi was a kid or was not born, and here is Amaechi trying to prove the man right.
Gowon's aphorism reminds Nigerians the saying that the constitution of men are not written on their faces. This was Amaechi who denounced the use of "your excellence", being how those in his position are addressed. This is Amaechi who has professed God as if He were his twin brother, but has made a u-turn to exhibit flamboyancy in the proposal for a new jet, a character that is not associated with God, because He abhors bigmanism.
Amaechi wants to live a life many moguls in the world would avoid, when there is no drinkable water in Rivers State. Talking about industry is a story for another day. 'It is really disgusting to see these politicians using the name of God like the 419 pastors to deceive and rape the gullible poor,' an observer said.
A big question has been posited about the distance a governor in Nigeria would travel that he needs jet plane. Is something right? 'Amaechi is the chair of the Governors Forum saying they can't pay minimum wage of N18, 000 to the Nigerian workers!"
Nigerians are warning Amaechi against this gluttonous lifestyle of purchasing a jet, saying that even in a country like the United State, governors hardly bargain for such an idea, let alone, making it a public knowledge. It was noted that a yearly budgets of a state in the USA are much more mouth watering than the budgets of the 36 states in Nigeria joined together, yet the leaders there are humble.
There was a report alleging that a Governor in the USA, less than 2 months ago, was sent to the cleaners for dreaming a ride with the State Police Helicopter. The governor went to witness his son's game in the plane. The governor repaid the cost of his jolly ride to the state, because he was wanted to live beyond his means.
While that USA governor was rebuked by the people and a payment was made, people like Amaechi would rather allow their action for a purchase of a new jet to leave a sour taste in the citizens than to repay, restitute or reconstruct their detrimental flamboyant ambitions. Amaechi would say that what price has he to pay again, after all, he has been 're-elected'? But people must continue to pay prices whether they like it or not.
In that light question of where Amaechi is going with a jet plane that he cannot use a helicopter, but let the 'common' Rivers person kill him or herself on the death traps known as roads, will never settle down so quick. A question has been asked by Nigerians why Amaechi feels that he cannot risk his safety in one of the Concord Jets, the one that was invented, engineered, and maintained in Port Harcourt by that esteemed River State scientist brother of his, who received his training and education in one of the primary schools in River State, then went on to study engineering at the University of Port Harcourt, where he invented the fastest Jet in the universe? The satire was caught!
Whether the Rivers masses need to rise up and condemn this jet proposal is left for them. Though, violence actions are condemnable. But any right thinking person should be wondering why Amaechi was opposed to a minimum wage of 18000 to workers, a mere pittance of 118 dollars, less than what a high school boy in America earns in a week during summer job. One movement of Amaechi in the purported airplane to any state in Nigeria, how many millions would it cost?
Nigerians have said that it is not about purchasing a jet plane but it is about maintaining it, as many governments' projects die as soon as they were initiated, because of lack of maintenance, the same way they lack to maintain those they are leading.
An observer said: 'No Governor in Nigeria needs even a Helicopter for use, even the president does not need airplane; what do they need it for? Is it for their intelligence, their support of research and invention or for proposing policies that encourage progress in the nation they are running down everyday?' With the question above, Amaechi has to think twice on his decision whether he is abusing the purposes of his office.
'If a state like Rivers is awash with money, the proper thing for its chief executive to do is to save that money, or use it to make the state an advanced nation within a nation, and not waste the money. Apart from a sticker price of $48M, this jet, if purchased, would be costing the State at least $2M every year, and as age and depreciation set in, the cost soars!' an observer wrote.
Nigerians are saying that what they think Amaechi really needs is a Helicopter that can take him around his State and Nigeria, but for long distance travels beyond Nigeria, must be done by commercial jet planes. It is very sad when certain persons live above a people's earnings, and when governors who do not have jet planes charter flights within Nigeria.
Who is the governor who has been alleged charters flights to watch premiership games abroad and return to the country? Who is the governor who has been alleged spends 35,000dollars to chatter plane each time he goes to satisfy his expensive habit abroad? Those who are leading Nigeria do that against the despicable act where an 11yr old died for lack of toilet in his school in one of the states of Nigeria, whereas an alleged sum of N7.8b was going down the drain for Amaechi to buy a jet in a state where poverty is sickening. In other clime, is this not enough reason to remove the office holder? This is Amaechi they say is doing fine and a man and friend of the people? Is there not something about a Second Term?
Nigerians are saying that they were once told that the state had no money and had to sell property (executive jet?) for $9million dollars to fund education and regarded it as a good sense of prioritization, so where did $48 million dollars sprout from for another jet? Does the Prime Minister of some European countries have official jet? Does Amaechi know that many of such countries, including Britain, the Prime Minister does not even travel on first class on government expenses?
Amaechi's decision for a new jet is not useful when over 70 percent of the total people in Rivers State are impoverished. Would he also request for an executive speed boat? Nigerians have suggested that the state house of assembly must be questioned on where the money for this project is coming from. Was this why a writer said that the Rivers State House of Assembly is rubber stamped? Somebody should wonder the cost of traveling in a private jet and compare it with traveling in a commercial jet. When a leader wants everything to be private, such leader should know that he or she is gradually disintegrating himself or herself from the people, and this goes to show how lazy and impractical such a leader is. Does Bill Gates who is regarded as the richest man in the world own a private jet?
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State ( CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: