The classical literary masterpiece provides readers with a gale of fresh sapience into the public life, leadership records, political engagements, emotional traits characteristic nature and successes and travails of the Transportation Minister, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
Having read many recent opinions on what most of the supporters and Media Aides to some of our leaders are saying about how without their Principals or their inputs the presidency of BUHARI would have been a mirage or pipe dream. Having played a key role in making this possible, it becomes imperative at this period to bring to the fore the impact and inputs that Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi played in making the presidency of General Buhari possible.
My revelation on this as contained in chapter 15 of my new book titled, ” throws more light on what Amaechi’s intervention helped to change the scenerio and put to shame the plots to frustrate the actualisation of this dream that Nigerians will in future applaud the ingenuity of the administration of President Buhari in making this country a great nation.
Please, find time to go through my revelation as stated below.
On August 25, 2013 at about 6 am, while I concluded my usual morning prayer session and about packing my luggage to leave Port Harcourt to see my family after they had left Yola due to the menace of Boko Haram, I got a call. It was from Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, my principal, calling me through Mrs. Ibim Sementari, then Rivers State Commissioner for Information, who said: “Chief Eze, I have a serious national task for you but decided to call to find out from you first if your past political background can cause you to renege on the task.” I told him, “Your Excellency, you called me because you know that I have not disappointed you in the past and I don’t intend to in the near future.” So he told me to wait for further instruction.
On September 7, he sent for me and on arrival at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge in Abuja, I had a breakfast meeting with him that lasted for about thirty minutes and Amaechi could not allow me enjoy my meal as he continued to say: “Buhari! Buhari! Buhari!! Is the only solution to the major challenge of Nigeria which is corruption.”
As if he was not done with “Buhari!”, “Buhari!”, “Buhari!”, he embarked on another issue, “President Jonathan is a history-maker: he will make history as the first sitting President to lose power.” After the breakfast, he asked me to see Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, then Secretary of the newly-formed New PDP that came into being when seven governors, G7, Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) – with former vVce-President, Atiku Abubakar, some senators and PDP chieftains, left the Eagle Square, venue of the PDP National Convention to Yar’Adua Centre to have their own convention, where they expressed their reservations over how the party was being run.
I later met with Prince Oyinlola and Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje, the National Secretary, and Chairman, respectively. And on September 9, 2013, I was announced as the National Publicity Secretary of the New PDP. I became confused when I was told that other governors and chieftains of the ‘new’ party wanted to recruit a very visible personality to man the office of the National Publicity Secretary (NPS) and Amaechi insisted that if they needed a person that would create the immediate awareness needed at the short time available, then one Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze was the one. His colleagues gave in. When I walked into their midst, it seemed they had expected to see one huge and domineering personality. Their facial expressions gave them away. After about two weeks, they were pleading with me to slow down a bit, asking Amaechi how and from where he fished me out.
Buhari and Amaechi: Relationship Ordained by God
By the time I put both President Jonathan and the PDP leadership under my uncle, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur – both of us came from Adamawa – on edge, security organs were all over the place hunting for me and other key actors of this new movement. We became the new bride of political groups in Nigeria, mostly PDP and the then main opposition political party, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). In carrying out my task, what was always ringing in my head was “Buhari! Buhari!! Buhari!!” earlier echoed and re-echoed by Amaechi. In fact, the name became a
Singsong. And to pave way for the smooth ascension to the presidency was to work with other leaders to point out to Nigerians not only lapses but the “sins” of Dr. Jonathan. Within three months, Jonathan knew that he had created another Amaechi, and his days as the President of Nigeria were truly numbered.
(vi) Buhari and the APC Presidential Ticket
As earlier stated, Amaechi pursued Buhari’s emergence as APC presidential candidate with evangelical zeal, after the New PDP joined the All Progressives Congress. This obsession explains why Amaechi did all within his power to ensure that Buhari emerged as the flag-bearer of APC during the Lagos Convention and, as the Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, worked even harder to ensure the ouster of former President Jonathan during the March 28, 2015 presidential election.
For emphasis, we must say again that if not for the emergence of Buhari as President, Jonathan and his cohorts would have arrested and jailed Amaechi for championing the defeat of his own brother from the Niger Delta.
(vii) Second Term as Buhari’s Presidential Campaign Organization Director-General and the Obstacles
On January 3, 2018, both local and international media organisations were awash with the news of the appointment of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi since December, 2017, as the Director General of President Buhari 2019 presidential campaign. That marked the strongest indication that the Nigerian leader would seek re-election in 2019.
Immediately after the announcement of Amaechi’s appointment, those who did not want him as DG went to work to ensure that it was reversed.
Some APC stakeholders reportedly opposed to the re-appointment of Rotimi Amaechi as President Buhari’s campaign director-general in the 2019 re-election bid moved into action. They argued that as a sitting Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) when he held the position of Director-General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation in 2015, Amaechi had enormous power which was not so anymore now that he is just a member of cabinet.
Arguments Against Amaechi‘s Return as Buhari’s Campaign DG
Those opposed to Amaechi’s re-appointment to spearhead the re-election of Buhari failed to understand that majority of APC Governors, Ministers and members of the National Assembly were already working with Amaechi to advance that re-election bid.
One of the reasons Amaechi was opposed was this rumour that he had a presidential ambition in 2023 and that as Buhari’s campaign manager, he would leverage on the connections.
The struggle of Amaechi retaining his office as the DG of Buhari Campaign Organisation was laid to rest on 1st August, 2018 when he conducted President Buhari round the proposed Campaign Office in Abuja.
Although, in the unfolding scenario, Amaechi’s major concern was to prospect for Buhari’s re-election, yet the possibilities of a repeat performance of the 2015 victory were dicey, going by some other factors. Nevertheless, Amaechi was determined to achieve an encore.
What were President Buhari‘s Re-election chances in 2019 with the Gale of Defections?
With high class politicians like Dr. Bukola Saraki, the then Senate President, 36 members of the Federal House of Representatives, 12 Senators, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State and Governor Aminu Tamnuwal of Sokoto State, having defected to opposition political parties, the question on the lips of every Nigerian was “What chances did President Buhari stand to get re-elected in 2019?”
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, one of the best leaders ever from Nigeria, in 1968, foresaw Dr. Saraki and his co-defectors and stated thus, “For the progressives to be in power they need the support and collaborations of some conservatives. After attaining power, the conservatives would, on their own, walk away. The progressives would now build a great party that would move the nation forward.” So what happened at that time in the politics of Nigeria was prophesied about 50 years earlier by a sage.
Speaking on the chances of President Buhari in the 2019 general elections, Amaechi said, “Nigerians will certainly reject a second looting”.
He went further to state, “On those that defected at the House of Representatives and Senate, where do they come from? They come from the President’s comfortable zone. Do you honestly believe that the President will lose election in Sokoto? We are not God, but it’s one of his comfort zones. If you bring the President on a sick bed to Bauchi and Kano, he will win and he has never lost election in Bauchi. But that is a bit arrogant on our side; we should not underestimate them. I am not God. It is only God who can say the APC will win or not. But what is clear is that if you remove the God element, I think we are prepared to coast to victory because Nigerians will certainly reject a second looting. Nigeria can’t survive a second looting. Never!”
Apart from Buhari, Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi’s name is the only name you hear during the ‘curse-laden-time’ at PDP campaigns. His life was obviously in danger. He supported Muhammadu Buhari right from the primaries to the election, proper. Buhari was hated so much by the “wailers” in the South-South.
Amaechi is a rare breed, scarcely found in Nigerian politics. He is a great stabilizer and a harbinger of good cause.
Some of us wished and prayed that those who were aware of the risks that this man took to get President Buhari elected would assist him in his second missionary journey to ensure the continuity of the administration of President Buhari for the great future of our dear country.
The Mystery of Buhari/Amaechi Union and the Jonathan Connection
Buhari’s first shot at the number one position was in 2003, against President Olusegun Obasanjo and in 2007, he ran against Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua now late, and in 2011, he contested against Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. He lost all three elections (but) on the fourth attempt in 2015, he defeated an incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
For the avoidance of doubt, the main attempt of this chapter is to examine the facts that led to President Buhari’s victory in the presidential election of March, 25, 2015 so convincingly; and to ascertain if the involvement of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi was all that was required in turning this giant of Nigerian politics into a winning candidate, after three failed attempts. Most interestingly, the part President Jonathan played in mid-wifing the union between Buhari and Amaechi, will also be examined and discussed.
Now that the main task of this attempt has been exposed, let us examine what Amaechi’s roles were in all of these.
Defeating a Sitting Nigerian President; a Feat that Positions Amaechi as a Unique leader in Nigeria
The famous words of Late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia are apt here, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, and the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” It was the fear of this truism that made Amaechi to defy the norms and even the security of his life when he decided to lead the removal of a sitting President who had enormous power of incumbency.
Amaechi did not belong to those who could act but would want to look the other way. He was made to act, and he acted. The result was the unseating of the most corrupt political gang in Africa.
I laugh when some people tried to downplay the historical role this engima of a man played in making the presidency of BUHARI possible. I am convinced that God who protected him from the plots to kill or destroy him if PDP had won the 2015 general elections will also see him through even at this period of politics of hatred.