Ahead of the 2023 Presidential election primaries of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, most unbiased pundits have given credence to the fact that for many reasons, the former Minister of Transportation and two term Governor of oil-rich Rivers State, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi will emerge winner with a landslide margin.
To begin with, the biggest advantage remains that he’s the most qualified and experienced for the job. As Governor of Rivers State, Amaechi met what could be described as a microism of Nigeria, but left the state a habitable destination for investors and residents. Prior to 2007, Rivers State was not only the epicenter of monstrous militancy that did not only scare away International Oil Companies (IOCs), the streets of Port Harcourt was dens of hoodlums and criminals.
Impressively, Amaechi decimated Militancy and insecurity in Rivers State within six months and during that period, the monthly Internally Generated revenue of Rivers State grew from a staggering 4.5 Billion naira to 7 Billion naira. Today Nigeria is faced with multidimensional insecurity challenges and Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi is one leader who has the courage to confront it squarely. Suffice it to say, getting it right with our security mechanism means other sectors of the economy will get it right.
At a time when Nigeria needs infrastructural renaissance like never before, one name that echoes loudly is Rt Hon Chibuike Amaechi. The preternatural speed with which the moribund Railway system kicked back to life, is a testament of Amaechi’s Midas touches on developmental projects. From initiating and completing the Lagos-Ibadan train service project to reconstructing the railway from Itakpe in Kogi State to Warri in Delta State, the infrastructural stories of change is heartwarming. Under his watch, all the sub-sectors of the Transportation ministry came alive. The Lekki Deep Seaport Project is near completion, and for the first time the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) commenced plans on transporting containers through barges from Lagos to Burutu Port in Onitsha. During his tenure as Minister also, Government implemented policies to ease doing business in the transportation sector, like the electronic call-up system to solve the Apapa Gridlock problem that has lingered for over a decade.
Also as Minister of Transportation, Nigeria now has a University of Transportation in Daura, Katsina, while all other Federal Government owned Transportation related institutions like the Maritime Academy of Nigeria Oron, Akwa Ibom and the Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology, Zaria have been salvaged from decay, upgraded and renovated. The list of impacting and transformative projects of Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at a period of global economic downturn and pandemic is a demonstration of a man with tactical abilities to effect change in the face of challenges.
Prior to his appointment as Minister, the same could be said of his tenures as Executive Governor of Rivers State. Nearly a decade after, his developmental strides remain indelible footprints in the State. It could be recalled that it was Amaechi who initiated and signed into law the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Agency Bill No. 3 of 2008, Sustainable Development Amendment Bill No. 1 of 2008, Procurement Public
Bill, Saving Public Fund Bill and an Executive Bill excluding the Office of the Governor from signing and awarding of contracts. The over 170 roads and 30 bridges constructed across Rivers State, the 300 Primary and 24 model secondary schools, the hospitals and Power plant projects initiated by Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as Governor, are still serving the economic needs of the people of Rivers state. The 13,000 young people he created jobs for are still putting food on the tables of their families.
Practically, most of the developed nations were developed as a result of continuity of policy and programmes, and unbroken chain of leadership. Amaechi who was turbaned as Dan Amanar Daura (trusted son of Daura) by the Emir of Daura, Umar Farouk Umar, was a two-time Director General of Buhari’s Presidential campaign and one of the closest Ministers to Mr President. If continuity in governance and contribution to the growth of APC in Nigeria should be talked about, Amaechi is a name to mention.
With less than 48 hours to go, the National Delegates of the APC know for sure that Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has the vigour, youthfulness and political willpower to consolidate on the democratic and developmental gains to the present administration and build a prosperous nation. While the opposing Peoples Democratic Party is alleged to have handed their ticket to the highest bidder, ignoring the consciencius agitation for power to return to the South after eight years, Amaechi’s emergence will be a natural response to that.
~ Samuel Udoh writes from Oruk Anam in Akwa Ibom State