Today I pay tribute to a man born five years two days before I was born. Of course, thousands may have been born same day, but where are they? Most may still be alive, but as they say, ‘there are those who merely exist against those who live.’ You live when your life is impactful. You live when men can say ‘thank God for John Doe.’ So, I posit that Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is not an accident or just another man. Love him, hate him, CRA, as he is fondly called, is a rare specimen.
So, I join his numerous fans, followers, supporters and friends to celebrate Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi on his fifty-fifth birthday (May 27, 2020).
I belong to an association of very articulate minds, all of my generation. We were brought together by providence, and feed with the same spoon that has nurtured several noble men that are still contributing to the progress of Rivers State. In our brotherhood ethnicity counts for nuts. Every morning an Okrika man comes on the platform and greets all, ‘meka’. The Ikwerre colleague calls the other ‘Iyo’. ‘Namasiobiri’ sounds like English amongst us.
If Rivers State was ‘COBA’ then, who would bother? For we are truly one. However, even with twins, disagreements are not out of place. We argue about political issues, because we are part of this society. We have colleagues who are of the Wike political family (PDP). We have those who are Amaechi’s sons, then we have a few apostles of Abe. And very certainly there are free agents and relatively objective souls.
One day, the camps were marketing their positions in a manner that pissed a free agent and he asked, “How old is Amaechi?” “How old is Wike?” And I quivered. His point was clear, should we continue to fight over men who are busy impacting lives? Wake up and give your life a push. What does it profit anyone to continue to live on ‘Amaechi this, Wike that?’
Of course, that is our political reality, so polluted that even the clergy is stained. Every handshake is viewed from the prism of political bias and apprehension. We forget that each time we stoop so low in thoughts and actions we insult our Creator; we disgrace our teachers and render our certificates worthless. But I am a product of the good old Government Comprehensive Secondary school, Borikiri. We had all-round education, and a good school must have good products.
A wise father would teach his children to inherit his friends and convert his enemies, because yesterday’s enemy could be an asset. I recently read another article on the man, CRA. That notorious write-up by Barr. Worgu Boms can’t attract my reaction on this occasion. Primarily because I think that his latest article is actually a mere rant of a frustrated adventurist. What in his text can we deduce as in Rivers interest? If a relationship went sour and malice takes over, why attempt to get us all involved. There will be no need to give that emotional outburst further volume.
I am not an apologist of Amaechi, but respect him. I agree that he is the undisputed leader of the APC at least in Rivers State (even Senator Magnus Abe agrees). As long as I was in the APC, I was completely loyal to him. However, I was disappointed with a major decision of his and felt that it was better to express my disappointment than hang in and grudge like a large number did. That behind us, I think that CRA has a lot going for him. Scale his weaknesses and his strength even the devil can’t score him low.
For many, we glory in the pain and shame of others. Otherwise, why are we so divided? Why can’t we see the good in our leaders as we see and magnify their flaws? My decision to celebrate CRA is because he has attained a height never reached by a Rivers man. Two term speaker, two term governor and two term minister. We must love our leaders so they can give their best.
Chibuike Amaechi is not perfect, yet he has empowered more Rivers people than any other governor. He is less ethnocentric, and fairer in his distribution of amenities. His national status is enviable, yes CRA has several battles and if he and APC wins, we win.
Only fools put all their eggs in one basket. We have to face some truths. Amaechi is not in government because of Rivers votes but because of his strategic political investment. So, we will be stupid to pull him down, for we have no replacement now. The Yorubas didn’t vote Obasanjo in 1999, but when they saw that he had become president, they keyed in.
Today, I celebrate a man born ordinary, but who can’t be buried ordinary because he has risen above the level of mere adventurists. A man who has lost quite a number of associates and yet, has an army of die-hard followers; abused by some but can’t be ignored by any.
CRA, you have shown that greatness isn’t a product of circumstance of birth but determination.
CRA, you have made mistakes, but four times more strides.
CRA, you have gone far, but can still go farther.
CRA, grace and unction has sustained you thus far, faith and fate can drive you further.
CRA, a forgiving heart is an asset of leaders, as bitterness is a liability of followers.
On this day, I urge you to be Christ-like, forgive and reconcile with both those who have wronged you and those you have offended. It is a recipe for healthy and limitless progress.
On behalf of my family and friends I wish you the most memorable and refreshing birthday ever.