Few days ago, the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was on African Independent Television (AIT) to defend the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari .
There is nothing wrong with that. It is not my business the excuses the Minister chose to give for what the federal government did or failed to do. I am concerned about the glaring failure of the central government to initiate and execute Federal Projects in Rivers State.
The litany of excuses given by Amaechi for the lack of federal presence in Rivers are, to say the least, unfortunate. His frantic effort to defend the obvious indefensible has, arguably, become one of the many deficiencies of most southern politicians. They bootlick their paymasters to the detriment of their communities and states . This posture continues to undermine development of the south and deny the south key placements in the Federal Government.
Whenever, the southern states are excluded from the development process, those in power recruit prominent southerners to justify such exclusion. Whenever they are denied appointments, their oppressors hire southern leaders to justify such marginalisation.
It is disturbing that the minister still fits into the above category of hired hands despite using Rivers resources to fund the national campaign of APC in 2015 and serving as Director General of their campaign in 2019. It is regrettable that he seems to tell the public that his relevance and stay in government is tied to his capacity to run down his state and geo-political zone.
Hear him : “Nobody is ready to discuss doing railway to Rivers State because of insecurity and kidnapping.”
It is shocking that he could push such argument even when he narrowly escaped being kidnapped in Kaduna recently. One of the co-conveners of Bring Back Our Girls made an issue out of this a forth night ago . She argued that the Minister was a direct victim of the total collapse of security in the North West.
As I write, nobody plies the Abuja-Kaduna Route, yet the Federal Government executes projects in that insecure environment . Bandits have turned Kaduna into a killing field, but Amaechi still has a way of routinely visiting project sites in Kaduna and other areas.
In Katsina, there is no existing security framework. Bandits now run alternative administrative platforms. They regularly negotiate with the Governor of Katsina State and the military authorities.
Despite the fact that the bandits run things in Katsina, Amaechi’s Ministry sited a tertiary institution in Daura.
Across the South-West, criminals reign supreme, kidnapping and robbing with reckless abandon. An alternative security agency, Amotekun has been established to put an end to this development.
Yet, Amaechi’s second office, is Lagos where he briefs the media on per second basis, on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line commenced by the Jonathan Administration.
The North-East is known for insecurity since 2009. Several innocent lives are lost on daily basis , a development that has attracted global attention. Insurgents and kidnapping , maiming and killing residents unabated. But the Buhari Administration sited about three military Universities and other projects in this zone. Amaechi justifies the siting of these projects because they are in the north.
Killer herdsmen have been supervising massive bloodletting in North Central. They have been running amok in rural villages of Plateau, Benue, Niger and other states in the zone setting homes ablaze and destroying farms .
While northerners at the Federal level scramble for projects to their states, Amaechi, arguably , has been spending resources and time to explain why his constituents should not benefit from Federal Government’s patronage.
But the truth is known. Rivers State is amongst the most secure states in Nigeria. Therefore, the insecurity excuse by Amaechi is nether here nor there . Rivers State is more secure than any state in the entire North.
It has its own security infractions from time to time, but it is nothing compared to the situation in other regions and states . Yes, there is room for improvement in terms of security.
In practical terms, hundreds of projects are ongoing under the leadership of Governor Wike in Rivers State. Contractors are on site across the state, delivering projects as funded by the Rivers State Government. For instance, the second phase of the Basic Education Upgrade of Schools in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state is ongoing. Sixty three (63) schools are being reconstructed by hundreds of contractors in rural communities. During the first phase of the same programme, over 200 basic education schools were upgraded in all the 23 Local Government Areas of the state. I make this reference to inform the world that the Minister was merely misleading the country, in order to buy favour from his paymasters.
The Unity Road that was abandoned is almost completed. Contractors are working there as I write. The dualisation of Sakpenwa-Bori Road is at its final stage. The contractors are executing the project. The equipment contractors are on ground in different sites, installing equipment at different Zonal Hospitals in the state. They are working in very secure environment. I can go on, but suffice it to say that the Minister of Transportation has no justification to de-market his state of origin.
If anything, the Minister should attract projects to his state and the entire South-South and South-East geo-political zones. He has forgotten in a hurry how he was humiliated during the South-South Zonal Town Hall in Uyo, when he attempted to de-market the Maritime University in Delta State, but was resisted by the Former Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu. We all knew that Kachikwu wouldn’t enjoy re-appointment because he defended his people.
Having said all that, the flimsy excuse for the refusal of the APC Federal Government to initiate and execute any Federal Projects in Rivers State exposes the double standards in the interpretation of the responsibility of the Federal Government to the federating units. In the south, the State Governors, even though they have no control of security agencies, are held responsible for security. misinterpretation has been sold to the media and members of the public.
Thank God all key stakeholders are seeking alternative solutions to the national collapse of security. While the Federal Government and her top officials are committed to needless propaganda, other tiers of leadership are looking for the way out.
The minister should stop giving impression that he does not love them his state and region . If he attracts projects to the state, It will be enjoyed by everybody in the state . That way the economy of the state would expand to the benefit of all.