By Marshall Israel
In a country that is sharply divided along ethnic, religious, and tribal lines, there is a need for a leader that will unit and conglomerate Nigerians under one Nation where ethnic and religious bigotry will not exist.
President Muhammadu Buhari has tried his best and will be leaving office in 2023. It will be therefore incumbent on his Successor to consolidate his legacies by ensuring that a United Nigeria is maintained.
There are pockets of agitation in every region and tribe. Some are calling for secession, others are calling for Resource Control, regional autonomy and all whatnot. Some of the agitations are genuine while others are Politically motivated. Whoever takes over from PMB must holistically accommodate and address the fulcrums of these agitations for Nigeria to remain an indivisible and United Nations.
One man that has the capacity to accommodate, tolerate and give every tribe, religion and ethnic group a sense of belonging as President is Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the current and Performing Minister Of Transportation. This is evidenced by his relationship with none-indigenes in Rivers State when he was Governor.
Before Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi became the Governor of Rivers State in 2007, there was a discrepancy in School fees in all State-owned Higher Institutions in Rivers State. None-indigenes were paying %200 of what indigenes were paying. Amaechi saw it as discriminatory and stopped it.
He argued that whoever was living, schooling, working, and doing business in Rivers State must benefit from the Rivers State Government. He then directed all State-owned Higher Institutions to treat none-indigenes as indigenes of Rivers State and it was gazetted.
Similarly, Amaechi visited the NYSC Orientation camp in Nowa Ogoni and gave all the graduate Doctors automatic employment with Rivers State Government after NYSC. He knew Rivers State graduate Doctors were serving outside Rivers State yet he was doing it throughout his tenure as Governor.
Amaechi was criticized and accused of flooding Rivers State-owned Hospitals and Health centers with doctors who were not indigenes of Rivers State but he wasn’t perturbed. Some Rivers State graduate Doctors are yet to forgive him. This made him employ more than 400 doctors of Rivers State origin for equity and fairness.
Amaechi appointed Rt. Hon Ade Adeogun from Ekiti State, South Western part of Nigeria as Chairman Rivers State Environmental Sanitation Authority. He is a serving member of the National Assembly. He also appointed Mr. David Iyofor and Hon. Chuma Chime from Delta State as Chief Press Secretary and Commissioner for Commerce and Industry respectively. Those are lucrative positions and only a man who doesn’t believe in tribe and ethnicity can do that.
At the grass-root level, Amaechi Created an unofficial 24th Local Government Area and appointed a none-indigene Supervisor and Coordinator who oversees the affairs and plights of none-indigenes in the Local Government and reports to the Executive Chairman. When he Created Caretaker Committees in 2014, every LGA had a None-indigene as a member. I was Secretary Of Council and the None-indigene Member of my LGA Caretaker Committee was a Yoruba Muslim living at Igbo Etche. Non-Indigenes were in leadership positions to show that Amaechi cuts across every tribe and ethnicity.
Out of the 13,000 Teachers Amaechi employed during his tenure as Governor, 3,000 were given to the none-indigenes in Rivers State. Also out of over 3000 Students, he sent abroad on Scholarships, Non-indigenes also benefited. He went against the people collecting “matching ground fees” from investors and land developers in Rivers State. His relationship with people was not based on religion, tribe and ethnicity. The way he spread his projects as Governor was based on the priority needs of Rivers State Indigenes and residents.
He is trustworthy, reliable, loyal and Committed to friendship. This is key for kingmakers. The Northern kingmakers hold the ace and they should not have any reason not to trust AMAECHI as against other potential contenders. He has proven that he can be trusted. Amaechi is the most sellable Southern Presidential candidate hopeful in the entire north. This is indisputable. A recent opinion poll in the North by Nongovernmental Organizations saw Amaechi leading other Potential Southern Presidential Hopefuls.
People don’t expect the government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that Nigerians have a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. Amaechi knows all these and he embodies the best this country has to offer.
Amaechi understands the ideals of Unity, sacrifice for Peace, community, faith, and service because they’ve defined his life. From his service as Speaker of Rivers State House Of Assembly to his days as Governor, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we’ve seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available.
Amaechi believes in a Nigeria where a Nigerian will travel to any part of Nigeria, live there and be accepted as a member of the community. He believes in a Nigeria where National and Public interest will prevail over tribal, ethnic and religious interests. Amaechi believes that our diversity should be an advantage to us instead of dividing us. Amaechi is a PROPONENT OF ONE NIGERIA.
Amaechi is an unrepentant “Buharists” and will sustain and build on the legacies of the President. Amaechi shares some attributes with the President especially in terms of dislike for corruption and lack of excitement for materialism.
With Buhari leaving, the APC needs a strong candidate in the 2023 election and therefore needs someone who is proven to be patriotic and committed to the Unity of Nigeria. Amaechi will keep Nigeria united and safe.
- Marshall Israel writes from Port Harcourt