No Nigerian citizen, let alone a Nigerian politician in living memory has sought to take, taken more undue advantage and most of all capitalized on acts of criminality to advance his personal political ambition as Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Nigeria’s embattled Minister for Transportation and the politically-ostracized former Governor of Rivers State, has done.
During the last 2017 serial legislative rerun elections in Rivers State, which themselves were a needless interruption of the State’s governance process but for the desperation of the former Governor and leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State to entrench his rejected lackeys outside the popular outcomes of the ballot, Mr. Amaechi both as an individual and one driving a political party’s agenda, took advantage of and drew personal benefit from nearly all acts of criminality in the State, including imaginary ones, to support his bid to oust the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State.
At the time, almost every victim of crime, which itself is a global phenomenon and not limited to Rivers State, including known criminals lawfully apprehended, was claimed by Amaechi and his party as a member of the APC being victimized for his/her political affiliation. The proliferated nuisance of those claims was so bad that even the President believed them and on that basis, shaped his view and engagement with the State, and unduly criminalized and discredited the majority of Rivers people, as he did also de-market the State.
Non political crimes were politicized by Amaechi and his Party. Cult related clashes were twisted to serve the interest of and benefit the All Progressives Congress. The media was consistently awash with bad news from Rivers State under the flagship of the ‘Rivers of Blood’ mantra. The situation was so bad that the airwaves were indeed a caustic effulgence of superfluous political malfeasance, the profusion of which was deliberately aimed at crippling Rivers State for Amaechi’s selfish interest.
At each turn, Amaechi took personal benefit of criminality and relied on such to drive his political agenda. Although the Rivers State Government and people were not unaware of this callous political tactic, the legitimately elected Government of the State spared nothing at ensuring that the claim of criminality would not continue to serve as the basis of Amaechi’s criminalization of Rivers people and the de-marketing of the State. Nothing was spared in equipping and funding the Federal Government-controlled security agencies in Rivers State.
To this day, no Nigerian State has funded the security agencies as much as Rivers State has done in order to enable them do their job under the present administration. But, as the Nigerian public also knows, regardless of what was spent, the Federal Government, which controls the security agencies, and in which Amaechi also serves as Minister would not allow the security system work efficiently to combat crimes by consistently interrupting it with frequent changes of its security chiefs deployed to the State, and by so doing altering its security architecture time and again. The interruption has been so bad that no other State in Nigeria has seen more redeployments of Commissioners of Police and other Service Chiefs from a State as has been done to Rivers State under this current APC-led federal government. It is obvious Rivers State needs to be a hotbed of crisis in order to serve as the basis for the criminal takeover of its governmental system by the APC and to Amaechi’s personal credit.
This is why it is not surprising to again hear former Governor Amaechi repeat his characteristically wild and spurious claims of insecurity in Rivers State, as activities preceding the 2019 elections begin, and after a prolonged silence following APC’s unfavourable outcome at the 2015 and its serial rerun polls. How can keen followers of Nigerian politics be surprised that, 2 days after Amaechi’s recent comment on the insecurity in Rivers State, prior to which there has been a prolong peace and quiet in the State, a mindless killing of innocent people would happen in Omoku, which he too would also capitalized on to call for Governor Wike’s impeachment? To my mind, if this particular incident doesn’t establish him as the merchant of crisis, instigator and prime beneficiary of criminality in Rivers State, then nothing else would.
It is not out of place to hold Amaechi responsible for what happened in Omoku, given his antecedents. Two days before that unfortunate act of criminality, Amaechi said he did better than incumbent Governor Wike on security. A day after the Omoku incident, without commiserating with the victims, Amaechi’s priority was the impeachment of the Governor.
Hear him: “The first responsibility of a governor which is what the oath of office requires, is that you swear to protect lives and property. When you don’t protect life and property what do you do? Is impeachment.”
Such bland callousness and naked unconscionable posturing are part of what have come to redefine the man Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi as the desperation for Rivers State in 2019 hots up.
The question is whether the Nigerian society will continue to condone the societal aberrations being consistently promoted by the like of Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and continue to slack him his free reign of terror and torture on their conscience and consciousness.