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Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi: Truth, principle, calling for change and its consequences

Written by Anyakwee Nsirimovu
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Communiqué issued at   Port Harcourt, Rivers State, October 14, 2015

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi: Truth, principle, calling for change and its consequences

Doing Democracy Movement (DDM), a creation of the Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition (NDCSC) with membership of over 80 critical civil society and human rights organisations across the political Niger Delta region, at the end of its consultative meeting in Port Harcourt, today October 14, 2015, on the state of the region, wishes to issue the following communiqué in regard to the nomination of ex-governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, as minister by the President Mohammed Buhari administration.

The DDM notes as follows:

• Governor Chibuike Amaechi deserves the recognition and call to further service extended to him by Mr. President, by virtue of the remarkable delivery of public goods in Rivers state, as a two term governor. Such public goods in the area of education, health, agriculture, urban renewal, road networks, security, etc.,  are most evident across the communities of the 23 local government areas of the state.

• Governor Amaechi in his outing in Rivers state governed with true courage, recognized that the burden of leadership is to make hard choices, to tell the truth, stick to principle and to take responsibility when hardship follows.

• Governor Amaechi sticking to sound principle, made enormous sacrifices in the best interest of the country, by way of contributing immensely not only to the change that Nigeria is witnessing momentarily, but most critically the participatory politics of extended and expanded voices in Rivers state and the Niger Delta in general.  

• Machiavelli was right when he wrote: There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”  Amaechi, displayed true maturity which is a persistent ability to stand on principle and pursue the long-term best interest of the country.

• Governor Amaechi in carrying the cross of principle, stepped on very powerful political and ethnic toes. He had the temerity to be friendly with Muhammadu Buhari, and even supported his political ambition against those of former President Jonathan, his kins man. He looked at the corruption and the impotence of the moment in the face, and called it by no other name; and worked immensely in giving it a bloody nose. He never hid his aversion as Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum on the decadent antics of that regime.  His frank and fearless comments on national  and state issues bothered so many on his opposite side of politics. His candour passed for brashness, his impatience for impetuousness, in a country where criminal trickery leaders  have learnt to wear their bad governance masks in a grotesque carnival of pained smiles. Amaechi was a marverick in many ways; he never bent the truth along the elbow. When he spoke, he never let his heart contend with his mind.

• Amaechi distinguished himself, stood his ground, in the face of monumental impunity gazetted and delivered by the then Federal government, yet was prepared to die by his principle and convictions, in a country where leaders flounder along in expediency and shifty values.  In a land when to be straight and true is to invite a loud national ridicule, when moral depravity and abuse of office held the key to infinite wealth and power. He endeared himself to critical civil society by giving life to the spirit of democracy we championed, from the days of the military.

• Sticking to principle, Governor Amaechi worked for Nigeria’s next generation and in deepening democracy.  He helped in ending one era in Nigerian politics, and ushering in another. He was key in the revolution in transfer of power.

• Governor Amaechi is paying the short term price of sticking to the principle of over- turning a very bad administration at the centre, standing by President Buhari, rather than Jonathan, and ‘selling out’ the first opportunity  a Niger Delta region son  had to lead one of the worst administration ever in this country.

• In keeping with what Martin Luther King Jr. once said: Cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience asks the question, is it right?  We strongly believe that Governor Amaechi, rather than abandon principle and behave like a career politician, believed that the position he took was right. Majority of Nigerians in Rivers state, across the region and the country at large are behind him for putting Nigeria first.  

NDCSC while observing most seriously that the Rivers state government should have shown capacity for effective  leadership in the manner it had handled its collective response to the nomination of Governor Amaechi as a Minister of the federal republic, which should not necessarily have detracted from its pursuit of probe  of the Amaechi administration in the state,  failed the peoples of the state monumentally in its approach which has remained petty and brutish.

Finally, DDM, fully respect the rights of others including groups to hold their opinion on the subject matter,  but insist and believe in an objective, absolute truth that is not subject to the whims of individuals or political parties, but exist outside human perspectives. Everyone have a right to his or her own opinion, but not everyone’s opinion is right. We do not define truth for ourselves. Truth defines us.

We admonish that truth is essential for freedom to endure. Without truth, one political character could control the minds of the citizens. The philosophy behind the freedoms of speech and the press essentially is to prevent peoples anywhere from ever living under any form of tyranny.  We agree with the thinking of John Milton, who believed that in a free and open exchange, truth would always prevail over falsity. In a society in which ideas could be exchanged freely, the lies and distortions of tyrants could be exposed and discredited before they could rob people of their freedom.  The attempt to pervert this critical democratic  tool from a tool  that protects liberty to one that promotes licence must be duly resisted in the interest of effective participation democracy.

DDM supports Chibuike Amaechi’s candidacy for minister of the federal republic. He is duly recommended to a most responsible and distinguished Senate and Senators of the Federal Republic, which takes the rule of law most seriously: every Nigerian citizen including aliens amongst us, is innocent, until proven guilty in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Anyakwee Nsirimovu

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