From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has said he does not belong to any geo-political bloc as far as his 2023 presidential ambition is concerned on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He made this known on Monday when he paid a courtesy call on the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun, Ali Okumade II, at his Alarere residence in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Amaechi, who also met with the leadership of APC in the state later ahead of the presidential primary of the party, told Olubadan: ”I’m not Hausa/Fulani candidate. I’m not Yoruba candidate. I’m not Igbo candidate and I’m not even the Kalabari candidate, but a Nigeria candidate.
“I come with experience, having been two terms Speaker before becoming the governor of Rivers State for two terms, during which I also served as the chairman of the governors’ forum, also for two terms.”
He recalled how he turned things around in Rivers State, while he was governor, saying he made it a safe haven for both people and businesses. He added that he succeeded by creating alternative to criminality.
“Whoever is conversant with Rivers State would attest to it that the place witnessed a turn-around during my tenure. This was made possible by creating alternative to criminality. Whatever you do, if people are not engaged towards ministering to their welfare, crime will thrive.
“As a firm believer in Nigerian project, my cabinet as the state governor had a sizable number of non-indigenes as members. Two permanent secretaries were non-natives of Rivers State, to demonstrate my detribalised nature. If by the grace of God I become the President of this country, I possess all what it takes to make Nigeria better,” the presidential hopeful added.
Oba Balogun, in his response, eulogised Amaechi’s detribalised nature and said with people like him, Nigeria would be a better country. The monarch noted that Ameachi shares the same attribute with him on oneness of Nigeria.
Olubadan, however, harped on the unity of the country, saying: “Irrespective of language, tribe or religion, we are all brothers and sisters. The Honourable Minister has over the years proved to be a true Nigerian and this falls in line with my belief and activities all through my life.
Facing the entourage of the presidential hopeful which included both former and serving senators and other political bigwigs, Olubadan said: “I urge you all to support and encourage him. He has demonstrated the capacity to wedge the country together and I want to tell you that you are very much at home. Feel free to knock at my door anytime.”
But two requests were placed before Amaechi by the President-General, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII), Prince Oluyemisi Adeaga, and Senator Kola Balogun, representing Oyo South in the National Assembly. Adeaga requested for naming a railway station after an Ibadan indigene, while Senator Balogun, advocated completion of the Ibadan Inland Dry-Port.
Amaechi, in his response, promised that a station would be named after an Ibadan indigene, but it won’t be within Ibadan railway corridor. He also promised that the final approval for the commencement of the project on the Inland Dry-Portwould be sought and got from the Federal Executive Council before the end of May this year.