THE ROLES AND ACHIEVEMENTS OF H E, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi AS A LEADER AND POLITICIAN: SPEECH AS A GUEST SPEAKER BY Hon Lawrence Chuku, Ph.D AT THE SOUTH-SOUTH GEOPOLITICAL ZONAL TOWN HALL MEETING OF THE BRIDGE BUILDERS INITIATIVE FOR GREEN NIGERIA(BBIGN) AT OMAGWA TOWN HALL ON THE 20th NOV. 2021.
Ladies and gentlemen i greet you all. But please permit me to confess that I am incapable of using this medium and forum to critically and analytically comprehensively state the roles and achievements of this political colossus. Not necessarily because I may not have all the records, but because time and space here may not even be enough to put on records the achievements of this great leader of our time that I can recall. Therefore. I will only make attempts to narrate just a few of his roles and achievements in Rivers State, Nigerian nation and humanity at large.
It is on clear record that the achievements of Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amarchi as Governor of Rivers state speaks for itself till date as they are visible to the blind and audible to the deaf and are equal to none. Ranging from the Educational sector. Healthcare, massive infrastructural developments, power, creation of employment, Agricultural revolution, and security of lives and properties, even in the areas of Arts and other intellectual property development.
Just last week I delivered a lecture on leadership a the NUJ Secretariat on the occasion of the inauguration of the 8th National Executive Council of Rivers state. Youth Federation, there i made it abundantly clear that Education is the precursor not just for quality leadership but for meaningful, enduring and sustainable growth and development in our society. As Governor of Rivers state, HE, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi appreciated this fact, hence overhauled this sector by building and equipping over three hundred standard Primary Schools and twenty four model Secondary schools to international hest standards. He employed more than thirteen thousand teachers who were adequately trained. He gave bursary to students on regular basis and facilitated scholarship scheme of the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency(RSSDA)- an agency backed by law. I will only make references to only three beneficiaries of his Educational policies to show the positive impact it had on our people.
“Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi places top priority when it concerns Education. He can sacrifice his last penny when Education issues are raised while he held sway as Governor of Rivers state. To encourage and motivate teachers, he paid the highest salary in Nigeria, including sundry allowances and scholarship to them for quality educational standards. He ensured that teachers were promoted timely, His quest for improved educational standards and the measures he adopted to achieve that, camed Port Harcourt the World Book Capital in 2014, during his administration, Amaechi passionately believes that backgrounds should not be an inhibition to acquiring good education, since education is a major bedrock for lifting people out of poverty.
Thus everyone is entitled to education, no matter your financial status. Bearing these circumstances at heart, he declared free education for all public Primary and Secondary schools in Rivers State, including the provision of free uniform and bags for students of such schools. The lecturers were not left behind. He gave scholarship to all indigenous lecturers in Rivers State University of Science and Technology to upgrade to Ph.D. The drive to encourage education further made him pay bursary annually to both undergraduate and Post graduate students of Rivers origin in Nigerian Universities. I, Mrs Opem Udose was a beneficiary of his benevolence and magnanimity. As a student leader then, I was privy to these facts as i was part of the coordinating processes during my tenure as a member of the NURSS legislative council (Uniport chapter) representing Ahoada West students and also the former Vice President of the National Union of Ahoada West students. Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi gave scholarship to over five. thousand students in Nigerian Universities and scholarship to over three thousand students for schools overseas spread across the globe. He had a functional scholarship Board.
The RSSDA was a very vital agency for providing scholarship for international students. It is interesting note that scholarship under his watch was awarded purely on merit, giving opportunities for children from even very economically and socially disadvantaged families the leverage to study abroad. Rivers state students as at today do not know what it means to receive bursary. They do not know what it means to be sent abroad on scholarship for studies, Teachers are not paid promptly. Since Amaechi left the state as the Governar, Secondary and Primary school teachers have remained in the salary grade level they were as at then, as the present administration has not deemed it necessary to promote them.
Education management in Rivers State as at today is at a very abysmal level. What a sad reality! Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is an excellent performer when it comes to leadership. I choose Rotimi Amacchi for President of Nigeria come 2023 for a greater Nigeria. Mrs Opem Udose”.
Following Opem’s narration on Facebook, hundreds of students reacted positively and I will only cite two:
From Isaiah Thomas, “I had my Secondary education in Lagos. One of the best schools in the country. D-Ivy College. As this may sound. I did this on scholarship under the RSSDA board during Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration We were a total of 123 students on this scholarship. The Greater Horizon Opportunity Program(GHOP) monitored this….. i flew all through my Secondary. school days….. the memo was to cover our University abroad. But Wike came on board and scrapped everything… mind you these were 123 less privilege kids….this man called Wike knocked down like this….. One day j will meet Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and remind him of his great works.”
From Collins Ebere Okeke, “Where you are father, your children are grateful…. we never stopped loving you because we know you never abandoned us. And t to your wife, our Mommy, who sat with us and welcomed us, we are indebted to you Ma. You will always be loved, cherished and adored for the motherly role you played in t our lives, Before you, there was none, after you, we are yet to see another father who understood just what his children needed and gave to them”.
Then Barinedum Mbee concluded by saying “My greatest joy is the fact that despite all, most of his seeds continued to grow. I mean, look at the quality of children he raised!. If only he knew! If only people knewt. I have had to convert my pain, hurt and bitterness into endurance and strength. The disappointment that hit us isn’t really my problem. But the shty mud smashed on the image of a father, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, is what burns my soul. A father who did not wait for his babies to cry before feeding them. Even when we had not finished the one he gave to us he would come back asking to be sure we were satisfied. A father who had the life of innocent poor children planned out for them, implemented it and gave them a taste of the kind of life every child deserves, hoping to give a life to hopeless children which he did until all his efforts to accomplish his vision were thwarted, j laugh in puin because…I don’t know how long the remaining 121(we lost Chukwuemela Johnson) of us can keep their calm, Mine is…I be given an opportunity to tell my father “thank you in a very concise manner” because until I show my gratitude a big part of me won’t find peace. I have become the woman I am today first because of God, my parents and my father Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. My story will never be told without him ,in it. Wherever he is, I hope he realizes that a tiny little child he pulled out of the dust and groomed into a fine desirable young woman is In area of Power generation, a target of 715 megawatts of power was set as to ensure adequate power supply in the state. Rt Hon Chihuike Rotimi Amacchi successfully completed 460 megawatts: 130MW at Oginigba(T/Amadi), 150MW at Omoku, 180MW at Afam and 75MW at Onne. He kick- started another 180MW at Afami before his tenure expired and also began talks with the Federal Government to allow Rivers state distribute its power i to ensure regular power supply to the people.
H E, Rt Hon Chibike Rotimi Amaechi brought the Greater Port Harcourt City Master Plan into actuality not just by constructing Adokiye Amiesimaka stadium but by constructive launching and well-developed planning which includes the planned new Rivers state University of Science and Technology.
the area of Arts, he adopted the Garden City Literary Festival and made it an internationally yearly event, hence encouraging convergence of intellectuals from different parts of globe and improving the society using Literature as a tool at the same time encouraging book reading amongst our people. This act also is a pragmatic means of information and education.
Culture was not left behind as the Port Harcourt Carnival popularly referred to as CARNIRIV was revived and held annually at Christmas periods, giving Rivers residents an opportunity to relax and have fun.
Transparency and Accountability became the watchword of this great leader of our century. He demystified the office of the Governor making it to be easily accessible and approachable as never was, with a participatory style of governance and also keeping constant touch and communication with the people through Town Hall meetings. His demystification of Government was also very visible and conspicuous in the expenditure of Government funds. He initiated the passage of bills, setting up of the Rivers State Due Process Commission for the exercise of due process on all Rivers state Government procurement and contracts. Institution of Public Private Partnership and many other developmental policies and programmes were also achieved by Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as Governor of Rivers state.
Our amiable Leader as the current Minister of Transportation has become the pride and face of the administration of our dear father and National leader, President Muhammadu Buhari. H E. Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has completely revamped the Railway sector with the modernisation of Nigeria’s railway. His Ministry is building standard gauge rail lines while reconstructing the existing narrow gauge lines. At same time modern and faster locomotive trains, coaches and wagons are being introduced The Pride of the Niger Delta supervised the completion of the Abuja-Kaduna mail line. He secured the contract for the Lagos Ibadan- Kano rail line of which Lagos- Ibadan section has been delivered with massive state-of-the-art train stations with an extension of the line into the Seaport in Apapa. Our dynamic leader has completed the Warri- Itakpe rail line, and is on track to deliver the Lekki deep seaport by 2022. He has kick-started the Kano Maradi rail line, Port Harcourt- Maiduguri rail line, Bonny Deep Seaport and Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt. Work on the contract for the Lagos Calabar coastal rail line is in progress.
Rt Hon Chihuike Rotimi Amacchi persuaded the Chinese rail company CCECC to establish a Wagon Assembly plant in Kajola in onder to make our nation self sufficient in the production of wagons, locomotives and other rail rolling stocks. He used his goodwill to negotiate and secure the establishment of a Transportation University in Katsina state, a multi-disciplinary University in Rivers state and the training of three hundred Nigerian students in Chinese Universities on Railway Engineering.
The wonder Minister had just launched the Integrated National Maritime Surveillance and Security Infrastructure Project also known as the Deep Blue Project that would ensure safety and security of Nigeria’s territorial waters and protect Maritime trade in the Gulf of Guinea.
The workaholic Minister is also overseeing the construction of Inland dry Ports in different parts of the Country, deep seaports, and ensuring that all agencies under the ministry of Transportation are performing optimally.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect model of leadership that all of us aspire to emulate. a this direction, our leader, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has become an epitome of leadership by being a good follower of Jesus, hence has shown exemplary and selfless service. As our Philosophers have individually and collectively outlined the qualities of a good leader, a good leader should possess great knowledge, abilities, viues, wisdom, openness, intelligence, action, high sense of morality, character and ethics. Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi possesses all these qualities coupled with deep knowledge of himself. No wonder he is focused, humble, empathic and discharges his duties selflessly with love.
He had a very humble beginning, endowed and well tutored on how political parties should be run from Local level to the national where he has held several positions.
He has been Directors of Boards of Companies. He has served and adequately followed leaders as Special Assistants and Personal Assistants. He served for two terms as a legislature and was Speaker for the two terms as well as Chairman Conference of Speakers which gave him an opportunity to establish a Secretariat in August 2003 at 12 Zaire Crescent. Maitama Abuja for the Conference of Speakers. This is one of the numerous opportunities that launched him into National politics. Recall that in 2003, when the National Assembly moved to hijack the legislative functions of state
Houses of Assembly as enshrined in the constitution, he led his members in the famous Supreme Court judgment, that the control and supervision of local government is the prerogative of the state House of Assembly. Isn’t this pragmatic leadership?
Rt Hon Chihuike Rotimi Amaechi was a two-term Governor and won election twice as Chairman of Nigerian Governor’s Forum(NGF), though some undemocratic elements then refused him to exercise that responsibility during the second-term bid as the Chairman of NGF Alongside with Four other Governors, he formed the nPDP that later collaborated with the Legacy parties to form the ruling APC.
He was twice the Director General of the President Muhammadu Buhari Presidential campaign(2015, 2019) that led APC to Aso Rock, winning the then ruling PDP and sustaining the victory respectively. He is currently serving as a two-term Minister of Transportation where he is also showing capacity and leadership. Nigerians are beckoning on this two-term speaker, two-term Govemor, twice Presidential Campaign DG and two-term most performing Minister of the Federal Republic to please, in the name Almighty God, come and lead them come 2023. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.