Ojike John Akiri
Our search for future leadership candidates in this great country must start now and not at the twilight of this government, when all manners of aspirants will be emerging under the banners of strange political party nomenclatures.
We are already blessed with a de facto two-party political system, with the APC and the PDP alternating in an unwritten geo-political rotational governance arrangement. I am in sympathy with those unearthing Aminu Kano’s PRP from the North. Can’t the big names we can read in that perilous script, like Attahiru Jega et al be guided by the ship-wreck of the Oby Ezekwesilis, and in a slightly digressive context the Rochas Okorochas and Amosuns of this world?
The party platform on which a candidate presents him or herself to a very large extent determines his seriousness and eventual success, because this influences the electorate’s voting pattern. The French have an expression, il faudrait savoir voter utile: in other words, people would like their votes to be determinant in the final out-come of any electoral process. Someone had better advise Attahiru Jega and his friends to find themselves space in either the APC or the PDP if they are to be taken seriously. We should strive to consolidate our de facto two-party system to facilitate the common man’s choice of who to lead him.
There is no doubt that Gani Fawehinmi with his legendary disposition to empathize with the poor and the down-trodden, would have made a great leader, if he had ab initio jettisoned his lone-ranger syndrome of a National Conscience Party in an otherwise conscienceless body polity. It is also a mark of humility to learn to climb the ropes from the lower rungs, before aspiring to berth at the ultimate echelon of political governance.
You could imagine a Sowore wanting to become the President of Nigeria. Why not first target the membership of his State’s House of Assembly or the House of Representatives? But he has just betrayed preference for the uncanny and undemocratic route of a revolution to foist himself on us like a Sgt. Samuel Doe.
We are very grateful to our President for the unequivocal renewal of confidence in some of his first term ministers even in this last lap of his governance relay. Why not we commence now to observe the positive and proven leadership qualities in some of these people who are already active in the political arena.
In what may appear as a distinctive roll call of the reliables, we cannot miss a personality like the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, whose name alone constitutes a relaxing appellational microcosm in our multi-ethnic nation.
He is an accomplished university graduate and for sixteen unbroken years had served as the two-term Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly and also two-term Governor of a complex state like Rivers. He has already served for four years as the Federal Minister of Transportation, whose tenure witnessed vivid vibrancy and palpable resuscitation of our hitherto comatose and neglected Railway System.
He is still in saddle hopefully for the same duty post. His Ikwerre nativity in Rivers State confers on him instant linguistic/cultural affinity with the South East. Besides, his dear wife and better half hails from Enugu-Ukwu in Anambra State. He can be considered a “northerner” by his presumable status of an adopted son of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has demonstrated uncommon confidence in him by twice appointing him to the post of utmost trust as Director-General of his National Campaign Organization.
Though very humble, Amaechi will always call a spade by its name when he sees one. We recall how he restored lasting peace in Rivers State at the on-set of the Niger Delta militancy, when it became fashionable for some miscreants and hardened criminals to pose as liberators of the Rivers people. We recall that it was his unfeigned firmness that humbled a notorious and dreaded war-lord when he levelled to the ground his awe-inspiring den on the outskirts of Port Harcourt. The Right Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is imbued with a rare sense of justice and fair play, hence he deployed tremendous zeal and energy in seeking to actualize the governorship aspiration of the riverine segment of Rivers State after nearly twenty years of Upland rule. That speaks volumes on the man’s noble sense of balance, justice and fair play.
We can also speak quite a lot about his much older colleague in the Federal Executive Council, Barrister Babatunde Fashola SAN, whose eight years rule as governor of Lagos State showcased so much glamour and innovative ideas .
This is inviting Sowore and all serious minded Nigerians to participate in this noble debate and purposeful search.