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Why The NORTH Is Backing AMAECHI's Presidential Bid

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has perfected plans to clinch the APC presidential ticket for the 2023 presidency.

And he is quite serious about his ambition. Recently, there was a report that the two-term governor of Rivers State is eyeing the presidency and in reaction to the report, Amaechi reacted: “I am still the Minister for Transportation. Only God can tell who will be the President of Nigeria in 2023.

This statement is complex and does not rule him out of the presidential bid in 2023. We have it on good authority that, if the Project and Program Delivery is a yardstick to determine who gets what in the peculiar structure of Nigerian politics, Amaechi will no doubt have his name written in the list. City People has it on good authority that Rotimi Amaechi will run as a presidential candidate in 2023, all things being equal.

The presidential ambition of the Minister of Transportation received a huge boost last week when the news of his traditional title in Daura, Buhari’s home town in Katsina was announced.

The Emir of Daura, Alhaji Umar Farouq Umar, will confer the traditional title of “Dan Amanar Daura” on the Minister, at his palace, on February 5, 2012. The term “Dan Amanar Daura”, means  "The trusted one of Daura". This is coming after the former Governorship candidate in Rivers State, Engineer Tonye Princewill said the Minister has the needed qualities to be Nigeria’s next president.

Tonye had in an interview said that given his achievements as a former Speaker in the Rivers State House of Assembly, a two-term governor and now federal minister for more than six years, AMAECHI stands tall in the comity of politicians in the country to take Nigeria to a glorious height in 2023.

The inclusion of the Transport minister into the picture as two big shots from the southwest region have pitched tents against one another, has further complicated the projection and predictions of political pundits and modern religious prophets who never saw it coming.

Recall that Amaechi had in an interview in November dissociated himself from campaign posters and groups that may suggest that he has an interest in the forthcoming presidential elections, he had said that his primary objectives hover around transportation and he intends to deliver his task to the best of his ability.

However, consultations and permutations that have begun in the past one week in Aso Villa show that the minister may have accomplished his target in the transport sector and he’s set to give the well-deserving presidency a good shot.

Beyond the teeming support and backings that Amaechi enjoys in the south, it will interest spectators to find out that he has the support base of northern youths to his credit. The people of the north acknowledge the fact that Rotimi Amaechi factors their interest and need in mind in all the projects that he executed as a transport minister. This is why Young persons from the Northern part of Nigeria under the auspices of Arewa Youth for Amaechi 2023 have said for the country to attain the development it desires all citizens must get involved in the process of leadership recruitment.

The group said it has identified the current Minister of Transportation, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi as possessing the right credentials to lead the country on the path of desired development and National unity. In fairness to the minister, he has not left anyone in doubt that indeed he is a lover of development. The transformation in the railway sector of transportation has delighted all across the country and beyond. Besides, Amaechi remains a bridge builder that will serve as a unifying factor of the country especially at a time when there are many agitations in different parts of the country.

Throughout his political career, the ‘Lion of Ubima’, born in Rivers State and raised in the bustling state capital Port Harcourt, has always appeared in public wearing his trademark ornately embroidered cap.

December 2020 however, Rotimi appeared on Channels Television wearing something else altogether. He rocked a plain red cap and a white shirt embroidered with the recurring motif of a lion head.

A non-Nigerian viewer will only believe that the whimsical choice of clothing might have escaped notice. To those in the know, this was a bombshell on par with what he was about to say. Alongside the spectacle of an ethnic Ikwerre rocking the Igbo ethnic group’s famous apparel and red cap, it was no longer a subtle hint – it was now a statement delivered: “I want to be Nigeria’s first ‘Igbo’ President.”

To get the grip on why Amaechi’s ethnicity hopping is an important political statement it is important to understand that ethnicity and geographical origin are central to Nigeria’s electoral political positions. The unwritten principle of “zoning” has since the fourth republic become almost the only conventional agreement that all the six zones have dully considered in the choice of the presidency.

This means that the next president, which of course is expected to be from the south, should come from the southeast, which is overwhelmingly populated by the Igbo ethnic group. It so happens that Rotimi Amaechi’s hometown of Diobu falls just within the arbitrary boundaries that define the “South-South.”

From the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) and Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Amaechi has shown capacity, innovation and leadership in a way that leaves no one in doubt about his competence in any way.

His political journey is dated back to when he was in the University from his home state. University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) in Rivers State was where Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi laid the foundation of his political life, participating actively in the student union politics, especially in the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS), of which he was President, and the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

After graduation, he cut his teeth in politics as Secretary of the now-defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State from 1992 to 1994. He was Special Assistant to Dr Peter Odili, the then Deputy Governor of Rivers State, and also a member of the Board of West Africa Glass Industry as well as Risonpalm Nigeria Limited. He was Secretary of the Caretaker Committee of the Rivers State Chapter of the disbanded Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) in 1996 during the transition programme of the General Sani Abacha junta.

In 1999, Amaechi contested and won a seat to become a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly to represent his constituency. He was subsequently elected Speaker of the House of Assembly as well as Chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies. He was re-elected into the State House of Assembly in May 2003 and was equally re-elected Speaker. A Master’s Degree holder; Amaechi’s assumption of office as Governor based on a Supreme Court judgement after PDP dumped him despite his convincingly winning the party’s gubernatorial ticket, remains a mystery to many political watchers in the country. He spent eight years as Governor of Rivers State. He was the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF). His unprecedented feats in the transformation of Rivers State have won him many international and local awards as well as the respect of the great world and Nigerian leaders. He currently serves as the Honourable Minister of Transportation under the Presidency of Mohammadu Buhari.

While we prepare for the February 26, convention, it is clear that the battle has been translated from a two man wrestling ground, but a royal rumble of political giants, 3 big candidates from the south will fight to the last drop to succeed President Buhari


-Joseph Seun Emmanuel

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