TGIF! Enjoy the long weekend with your favorite Nigerian stars! Today’s entry features a Nigerian Politician…hmmm, read and see if you agree!
The level of ignominy and impunity of the political class is found in the nature and quality of leadership of the present political dispensation under President Jonathan. Leadership quality and charismatic aura has been shown in the present Governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. Rotimi Amaechi cut his early teeth in politics as secretary of the now defunct National Republican Convention in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. Between 1992-1994, he was Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of Rivers State and also a member of the Board of West Africa Glass industry as well as Risonpalm Nigeria Limited. ]He was the Rivers State’s Secretary of the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) caretaker committee after in 1996 during the transition program of General Sanni Abacha.
In 1999, governor Amaechi contested and won a seat to become a member of the Rivers State house of assembly to represent his constituency. He was subsequently elected as the Speaker of the house of assembly. Amaechi was elected the Chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies. He was re-elected into the State house of Assembly in May 2003 and was also re-elected as the Speaker. In 2003 when the National Assembly moved to hijack the legislative functions of the State house of Assembly as enshrined in the constitution, he and his colleagues took the matter to Nigeria’s Supreme Court and the court gave a judgment that the control and supervision of local government is the prerogative of the State house of Assembly.
He contested and won PDP’s primaries for Rivers State Gubernatorial race in 2007. His name was substituted and he took the case to highest court in the land, the Supreme Court. He became Governor on October 26, 2007 after the Supreme Court pronounced him the rightful candidate of the PDP and winner of the April 2007 Governorship election in Rivers State. He was reelected for a second term of four years in April 2011.
His administration invested in infrastructure development, construction of roads and bridges sticking to the vision of connecting all parts of the state by road. The governor is also committed to urban renewal and modernization of transportation services as his administration is building a monorail to provide mass transportation within the city of Port Harcourt. Some power plants projects (Afam, Trans Amadi, Onne) are also ongoing or nearing completion to improve power supply in the State.Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi holds the National honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), is a Christian Catholic and a knight of St Johns.
Amaechi’s visionary leadership has earned him amongst others, the Award for Parliamentary Excellence (Rivers Foundation, USA, 2000), The International Award for Political Leadership (Jaycees International, 2000) and Best Speaker of State Houses of Assembly (Nigerian Union of Journalist Award, 1999).
In the early days of his conflict with Jonathan, Governor Amaechi argued persuasively that Jonathan had been angry with him following widespread rumours that he (Amaechi) had agreed to serve as vice-presidential running mate to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State in the 2015 federal election. Although he denied the allegation, Amaechi also said in a rather trenchant tone that he was entitled to contest any political position in Nigeria, whether Jonathan liked it or not. That’s true. It was also his own way of rubbing his thumb into Jonathan’s eyes. However, in another open forum, Amaechi denied quite brusquely that he had a problem with Jonathan. In fact, he said the so-called rift between him and Jonathan was invented by journalists.
Indeed, in the past five years, Governor Amaechi has not only talked the talk but also worked the talk. He has spent the past five years building a Rivers State that has transformed significantly from what we used to know. Passionate about his state, committed to serving his people, Amaechi has made changes, small and big, that have impacted tremendously on their lives. And he was under no illusion that these changes must of necessity come with a heavy price. It is in the nature of change to cause a lot of discomfort, especially to the few who benefit from the rot, who would want the old ways of rot, decay, corruption and the sharing of the collective wealth of the people by a few privileged to continue.
The Garden City, as Port Harcourt is fondly called by residents and visitors, has regained its peace, after years of siege by criminals – thanks to Amaechi’s priority to security. He knew nothing could be achieved without peace and security. He invested heavily in security, security equipment and practically helps in funding our federal security agencies to fight the atrocious insecurity in the State, which only true leaders can afford.
With his leadership style, administrative acumen, strength of character and passion to better the lives of his people, Amaechi has clearly shown that change, positive change, is indeed possible in Nigeria. He has shown that our country can achieve greatness if leaders at all levels match their words with actions for the good of all. With his clear leadership example in Rivers State, Amaechi has shown that with a clear vision, strength of character and commitment to implement, our country can be turned around. That Nigeria can indeed be great again with right and committed leaders. He has demonstrated that there is hope for Nigeria. A goldfish, they say, has no hiding place.
This honor does not surprise me. It is a reaffirmation of what we have always known – that this country needs leaders like Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi for it to attain its full potentials and be a much better place for us to live in, a country of our dream. A Nigeria we can all be proud to call our own. I am now sure I know a Nigerian star.
This ‘I Know a Nigerian Star’ article was sent in by Okere Martha, a student of Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri.