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Rotimi Amaechi’s political gamble

By Sunny Ikhioya

ROTIMI AMAECHI, the governor of Rivers state is intelligent and brave. He is also charismatic, an attribute, he has used to manifest his net working skills across the country. He was, at a time, the Chairman of all Speakers of states assembly, in the country and presently, Chairman of the governors forum. These are no mean feats.

Amaechi has chosen to fish in uncharted waters, against the tide – so to speak – He has joined the opposition, fighting for his political survival. It is either he wins this battle or all of the above listed credentials will be rubbished.

It is said that, a wise general knows when to draw the line; between going further and facing humiliating defeat, or, tactically withdraw and prepare for battle, another day. Has Amaechi gone beyond the line?

What is it that drives Amaechi? Are the killings, destructions and tensions that have engulfed, the once peaceful, Port harcourt city, worth this battle?

A wise king, once said, that, it is better for him to abdicate the throne, than for the whole country to burn. Does the interest and ambition of Rotimi Amaechi supersede, the peace and tranquillity of Port harcourt and its environs?

Is it not better for Amaechi, to let peace reign, by allying with his kiths and kins in the South-South? Will he want to be remembered, as the one, who sold out the South-South – ala Judas Iscariot – to the outsiders?
An intelligent politician, looks at the greatest good for the people, is the politics of Amaechi, now for the greatest good of the people, with destruction of public properties and unnecessary killings?

More importantly, given the scenerio: no opposition party has won gubernatorial and presidential election, in Rivers state history – Can Amaechi succeed in this highly wired political endeavour?

Let us start from the beginning.

Amaechi was Odili’s protege, the way Wike is to Amaechi. He was directly poised to clinch the PDP gubernatorial ticket until the intervention of Obasanjo’s  k’bow leg factor. The fall out of this, caused a strain in the relationship between Odili and Amaechi, but for, Odili’s diplomacy, in not wanting to dance naked, in the market place, perhaps, the fight would have started, long ago, as other lieutenants of Odili like Sekibo, were spoiling for a fight with Amaechi.

What Wike and his gang have done to Amaechi, is a replay of Amaechi’s act towards Odili.

In Nigerian politics, betrayal is the order of the day – Obasanjo/ Danjuma, Obasanjo/ Atiku, Yar adua/ Obasanjo, Jonathan/ Obasanjo, Odili/ Amaechi, Amaechi/ Wike and so on. It is time, for our leaders, to learn a lesson; the only solution, to a peaceful continuity, is a clean democratic process. Let us stop, the culture of arbitrary imposition. Anyone, without the backing of his people, must not be propped up. Our politics will never gain ground, until this vital aspect is sorted out.

Back to Amaechi, the diversity of the Rivers state indigeneship, makes his battle, more herculean. The Ijaws still constitute a very significant representation in  the state, despite,the split into two. Incidentally, that is where majority of the votes in Rivers state come from. It is in the riverine areas that you get 100 percent voters’ attendance, as recorded in the electoral registers. The Kalabari king, the offended party, in the Soku oil well brouhaha with Bayelsa state, has come out to say that he has no problem, with them. Does it mean that Amaechi is crying more than the bereaved? How he intends to take, these riverine people, along to the APC, will be difficult to unravel.

Amaechi’s stiffest opposition, is coming from his fellow Ikwerre brothers; Wike, Opara and others. When you add, the already established politicians, like, Odili, Sekibo et al, you will begin to appreciate, the forces arrayed against Amaechi.

Forget his government propaganda machinery,there is no governor or politician, that can confront the might of the federal government and succeed. That is the bitter truth and the list is endless. All of those, running to Obasanjo now, have forgotten so soon, how he stopped majority of them opposed to his third term ambition, from coming back for re-election, even Anenih’s brush with Obasanjo, was rumoured to be as a result of the failed, third term bid.

Amaechi cannot succeed in Port Harcourt, without the co-operation of the federal government, taking into consideration, the volatile nature of the state, its strategic positioning, that is an attraction to the good,bad and ugly. The federal government controls virtually, all the security agencies and Amaechi needs their co-operation, to succeed.

We must never under estimate, the federal might – the Hausa/Fulani, used it under the regimes of Babangida, Abacha and Yar’ adua, the Yorubas had it through Obasanjo, the Ijaw man will not, abdicate the use of it, now that it is his turn, knowing Jonathan to be a good student of Obasanjo.

Those who know the typical Ijaw man, will concede the fact that, they are very nice and hospitable people, but, like the Hausa/Fulanis in the north, when they take to a position, they can be very extreme at it. This is a subject for sociologists, to study and decode.

They see Amaechi as a betrayer. If he had gone for the Labour or Conscience parties or any other party apart from the APC, it would have been more tolerable to them, as they see APC as the obverse side of the PDP coin,’ same-same’.

With his much touted intelligence, I had expected Amaechi to meander through the conflict, he had with the President, whether the wife was involved or not. It is only a foolish politician, who will go into a battle, he cannot win, he should go and ask Sylva. Moralist will try to justify his actions, but, according to Tom Clancy, in his book Rainbow Six; “morals were always variable things, depending on the culture, experiences, and principles of individual men and women”. This is the truth about the situation on ground.

All of the people that, he is frolicking with now, are only using him, for their own selfish interests, being the main pivot, on their side from the South South, Amaechi’s inclusion is giving them a legitimate ground to pollute the political environment.

One had expected, a logical and sound presentation of their programmes, with action plans, on how they will change the fortunes, of Nigerians positively.

All we have seen, is the messianic attempts of the APC figures, to take over through a forceful propaganda, to run down the government of Jonathan. By so doing, they have raised ethnic and religious tensions –  by implication, widening further, the gap between the south and the north.

Allying with those who will kill, for personal political interest, like the leaders of the Rivers state House of assembly, is not good for Amaechi. Somebody that did not hesitate to use a whole mace, on an opponent, on the floor of the House, because of political differences and one that is facing murder charges from the Rivers police command, is not to be associated with. Why not pursue the legal option with peace, after all, that was how he got the mandate, delivered to him.

All of his colleagues in the South-South, are on the side of the president and can easily mobilise against him. Amaechi seems to have over played his card, and only the Almighty God knows how it will end. Amaechi is not coming back as governor of Rivers state; who is he propping up to replace him? Will that one possess Amaechi’s drive, charisma and intelligence to sway the people?
We wait and see.

*Mr. Ikhioya, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Lagos.


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