By Emmanuel Onwubiko
“Objectives are not fate; they are direction. They are not commands; they are commitments. They do not determine the future; they are means to mobilize the resources and energies of the business for the making of the future.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
In about a week’s time, the two most prominent political parties namely the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party will select/anoint/elect their Presidential candidates for the 2023 Presidential poll.
The aspirants have since started campaigns by travelling around the Country seeking out the support of the elected delegates who are to nominate the candidates of the political parties.
In the APC, the aspirants are saying many things but most of them do not have workable templates on most of the promises they are making verbally to the delegates and to Nigerians. Some of the Presidential aspirants like Nyesom Wike are as intellectually empty as it can ever be in the area of preferring practicable panacea to the crises caused by the National climate of insecurity and terrorism by and non State actors. Nyesom Wike who is governor of Rivers State is lucky to have inherited the Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi’s security formula in Rivers State in which the former Rivers State’s helmsman and now a Frontline aspirant for the position of a Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress implemented that made Rivers State during his eight years reign as the most crime free State in the 36 States of the Federation. It is not known that the successor to Rotimi Amaechi as Governor of Rivers State Nyesim Wike introduced any other strategy different from the larger security template put in place by Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.
We will come to the issue of the blueprints for development that the aspirants have articulated but first let us look at the issue of whether the incumbent President has a favourite Candidate to succeed him or not.
The President himself recently confirmed that he indeed has one most favoured successor but that he will keep the identity close to his heart since he does not want to jeopardise the security of the person.
Incidentally, the special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, says his principal has a favourite candidate to succeed him in 2023, but will not mention the person.
Adesina made the revelation during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Thursday.
So far ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio; Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba have joined the presidential race on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC). Of these bunch, the immediate past minister of Transportation Mr Amaechi seems to be poles apart as the most significant political Son of President Muhammadu Buhari in terms of who amongst all his appointees allocated the most strategic national assets like Railways and Transportation University in Daura the homestead of President Muhammadu Buhari. So if being favourite is to be rated by who loves the President and his people the more, Rotimi Amaechi is obviously the number 1. The rest are hypocrites. But let us hear what the President’s Media minder said.
Mr. Adesina, an ordained Deacon of a Pentacostal Church, who said he is not card-carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), touched on the sensitive matter of who is indeed President Muhammadu Buhari’s favoured successor in 2023. But he stopped short of naming names.
Adesina said, “In a previous interview when the president was asked whether he had a favorite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.
“That shows you that the president himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you can no determine at the moment.
Political pundits believe that if royalty is the yardstick for President Muhammadu Buhari to decide his favourite then the immediate past minister of Transportation Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi will be amongst the top most favourites. The then former governor of Rivers State sacrificed so much by way of resources to campaign vigorously for the then APC Presidential Candidate in 2014 before the incumbent President cruised to victory at the polls in 2015.
Few days back the Abuja civil Society community including the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) converged in Abuja to deliberate on the State of the nation and to set agenda for the Presidential candidates of the parties that will emerge from the primaries this week. The groups expressed happiness that Aspirant Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi of the All Progressives Congress has made the issue of insecurity his sacred mandate and the Centre of his blueprints. It is not a secret that the number one problem facing Nigeria is insecurity. The coalition of civil rights campaigners also stated that they agreed with Rotimi Amaechi’s claims of what programmes and steps he took ad the then Governor of Rivers State to tackle insecurity.
The then Ricers State governor who is the immediate past Minister of Transportation and APC presidential aspirant, Rotimi Amaechi, on Monday said he tackled insecurity while he was Rivers governor by equipping the military and the police. The Human rights stakeholders said Rotimi Amaechi is correct to make the claim.
Recall that Mr Amaechi spoke while visiting the Deji of Akure, Aladetonyibo Aladelusi Ogunlade, at his palace in Ondo State.
He also paid a private visit to former presidential candidate, Olu Falae. Mr Amaechi later proceeded to Ibadan, where he paid a visit to the Olubadan of Ibadan, Olalekan Balogun, and met with delegates and party faithful at the Oyo State APC secretariat.
The minister said if elected as president, he would be detribalized and would ensure that the yearnings and aspirations of all Nigerians are protected, irrespective of tribe and religion.
“You recognized us for who we are, you recognized us not as a Yoruba candidate, not as an Hausa candidate, not as an Igbo candidate or Ikwerre where I come from, but as a Nigerian candidate,” Mr Amaechi told the Deji of Akure.
“I am detribalized, I don’t know Yoruba or Hausa, I just know Nigeria, and everybody should be treated like that, there should be no segregation,” he said.
Mr Amaechi said as president, he would deploy his wealth of experience in governance and fighting insecurity.
“Your Majesty sir, It is not enough to say I was a former Governor for two terms, former Speaker for two terms, and all of that. The question to ask is what did I do with those positions? Because when I say I come with experience, I actually come with experience.
“Quite a lot of those who are contesting or aspiring to be the President don’t come with that kind of experience that I come with. I have governed a state where there was insecurity.
“When I was governor of Rivers state, they were kidnapping two months old babies.”
Mr Amaechi said he was just a few weeks in office when two high-profile kidnappings took place in Rivers.
“The first they confronted me with was the kidnap of a prominent Nigerian, a Rivers man, Prof. Nimi Briggs, one time Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt.
“The next person they kidnapped was the wife of late Chief Lulu Briggs, prominent people, and I was barely few weeks or months old in office, I rescued them.
“So we equipped the military and police, we trained them and made sure that at any point in time you kidnap anybody, we are in the position to rescue the person and punish the kidnappers.
“So I am experienced in finding solutions to insecurity,” he said.
Responding, the Deji of Akure, described Mr Amaechi as a grassroots politician who knows the needs of his people.
“You have already passed through the hierarchy of politics, from Speaker, two times. All these two times position has a meaning,” said the Deji, putting two fingers up and adding that it signifies peace.
“In a good democracy setting, you should not have any problems at all,” the monarch continued.
“Currently, you have transformed the Ministry of Transportation, and I want the rail to come to Akure with the Seaport in Ondo. Whatever it takes for the rail to come to Akure, we will do it, and whatever it takes for the Seaport to come to Ondo, the people of Ondo will do it.
“We are not doubting you at all because you passed through all the stages. You did what you were supposed to do at each stage, all those that elected you, they did because of your integrity and for the love you have for your people. Not for your people alone, but for the nation.
“Like you said earlier, you are not from Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba alone, you are a typical Nigerian and we take it like that and when you get there, I know you will be a typical Nigerian not one-sided,” he said.
The conference of human rights practitioners championed by the National Coordinator of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko said the security blueprint canvassed by Mr. ROTIMI CHIBUIKE AMAECHI is noteworthy just as the activists said the endorsement of Aspirant Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi by the immediate past Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai demonstrates the validity of the security templates that the aspirant has been talking about.
It must be recalled that as the consultations with delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the country by Presidential Aspirant and former Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi continue to attract high profile support, a former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai has endorsed the former Minister, stating that his loyalty and love for Nigeria and humanity is unmatched.
Gen. Buratai who is currently, Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, gave this endorsement at a parley with delegates of the APC in Bauchi, Wednesday night, when he and other dignitaries accompanied the Presidential hopeful, Chibuike Amaechi to solicit delegates’ support in Bauchi ahead of the party’s primaries.
Burutai stated that he was spurred to give his support to Amaechi due to his outstanding profile and vast experience in governance.
He said, “You can see from the introduction, the experience of our Presidential aspirant. The profile of Rt Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is quite intimidating. He has proven to be a sound administrator, a versatile leader, a good strategist and a politician per excellence, who has shown good qualities in all areas he had worked. As Speaker, as Governor, as Minister and also first among equals during his tenure as Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, as well as the dexterity and the quality of the campaign (for President Buhari) that he led on two occasions. That is why I am giving him my full support.
“He did that diligently with all his determination, loyalty and of course with love for Nigeria and love for humanity irrespective of what religion you belong to. This is quite commendable, that’s why he’s here today to solicit for your votes. From what you have heard about him, I believe you know that he’s the man of the moment. He is the right choice. So, I urge you to make the right choice and vote for him,” Buratai said.
Addressing the delegates, Amaechi said he is the only aspirant in the party with impressive records that would defeat the opposition party. He urged the delegates to vote for him for the overall benefit of all Nigerians.
According to him, “This is the moment of decision. For twenty two years I have held public office, as Speaker, as Governor and as Minister. And in all of these, you will see my footprint. There’s a railway construction going on from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri. It includes Bauchi and it’s called the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway. If you vote for me, that project will be completed and it will create employment. So vote for me, make me the candidate of the party. I doubt that the other aspirants have the capacity to defeat me, If you vote for me I will defeat PDP.”
Earlier, at a visit to the Emir of Bauchi, HRM Dr. Rilwan Suleiman Adamu, Amaechi used the occasion to re-emphasize his commitment to deliver on infrastructure and tackle insecurity if elected.
“Your Highness, I am here to seek for your blessings, to appeal to the Bauchi delegates to give me their votes on the day of the primaries, because there is no aspirant in our party that is as prepared as I am to be the President of Nigeria.
“I have the energy, I have the capability, I have the knowledge and the strength to be the President of Nigeria. I have the experience of what the problems are and what the solutions should be and I’m seeking your support to provide solutions to those problems.
“One of the things I did to fight militancy in Port Harcourt was to create employment. I will introduce agricultural programmes to create jobs for the people. I will provide infrastructure in Bauchi, I am full of experience, If you vote for me I will chase the criminals away. I did it in Port Harcourt and Rivers State and I am prepared to do it again. I will do my best to restore security in the country. Please tell your people to vote for me and I will bring that experience to bear, Amaechi said.
HURIWA as well as the over 36 register Civil Rights Advocacy Groups said the qualitative security blueprint of Mr. ROTIMI CHIBUIKE AMAECHI is commendable and should be looked on by other aspirants because it is obvious that our most fundamental human development issue destroying the body polity is insecurity. In fairness, most participants at the CSO’s parley in Abuja at the Weekend hosted by HURIWA somewhere at Wuse two, were of the unanimity of opinion that if truth be told, Mr. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi has the most acceptable security template to take Nigeria out of the WILDERNESS OF INSECURITY AND TERRORISM within a short time frame because of his Profound commitment to the thematic area of HUMAN AND NATIONAL SECURITY.
And as Ralph Waldo Emerson pointed out, commitment is the single virtue a charismatic leader of a nation needs to take his nation to the frontiers of advancement and sustainability.
*EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO is head of the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA and was NATIONAL COMMISSIONER of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.