Presidential Aspirant, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has declared that only a man with courage and relevant experience can pilot the affairs of Nigeria at this difficult time in the country.
Amaechi stated this when he respectively visited the government and delegates of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Ondo and Ekiti States, Monday.
At his visit to the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Amaechi stated that experience in governance matters, but courage is required to run the affairs of a country like Nigeria, and he has both.
His words: “What I come with is not just experience, I come with courage. That’s what you need. You need a man of courage, a man that is sincere, you don’t need a double-speak person, you need an honest Nigerian, and I bring that to you free. All I need from you is your support.
“They’ll come (other aspirants), they’ll tell you the same old stories. What is new? All of us who are running, we must present to you what is different. What makes you different from the rest?
“I happen to be the only Nigerian running now, that has governed a State where there was militancy. When I took over in Rivers State, they were kidnapping two months old children and I couldn’t sleep, I was very worried, but I understood that we needed to deal with it. That’s the reason why I’m running, I’m running to bring that experience to bear, because I understand what it means to be hungry, I understand what it is to manage hunger and manage poverty to wealth.”
Amaechi urged the delegates to always ask ‘how?’ whenever politicians or aspirants come to them with promises, seeking their support.
“One question you should always ask politicians is ‘how?’ like everybody is saying now, ‘I will create employment.’ How do you create employment? They will all come and say ‘I will create wealth.’ Your question should be ‘how?’ That’s how to catch a politician. If given that opportunity, I come with a wealth of experience, we’ve passed through this country. I know literally all the Speakers you’ve called here, they’re my colleagues. They’re not just people I hear about, they’re people I’ve dealt with, even governors.
“I was Speaker at 34, I was governor at 42, I became Minister at 50. If God blesses me, I’ll be President at 58. I said this because, to the youths, I understand your phase and I identify with you completely. To our elders, I also understand what it means to pass through the wheel, because I passed through all the stages in the political development of a country, and with all respect to all other aspirants, I appear to be the most experienced of them all. I’ve been governor, Speaker and Minister.
“If you look at the history of Nigeria, you can’t escape me. You can say there have been so many governors, yes some of us have been governors, you can say there are so many Speakers, yes some of us have been Speakers, but there’s no one Director-General of a campaign that removed a sitting president, only me, the first and only one yet. At a time when we could have been taken for granted, we were able to surmount the incumbency and supplant ourselves. It wasn’t an easy fight, it was quite difficult, but we won. I’ve been Chairman of Governors Forum twice and Chairman of the Speakers Forum twice, so tell me why I’m not the most experienced?
“I’m a Christian, when we were running in 2015, the story was Christian versus Muslim, and I said no, that is a depiction they use to deceive us from facing reality. Today, what I preach is a united Nigeria, a Nigeria where Muslims will feel free to stay in Edo or Ondo, and where an Ondo man who is not a Muslim will be free to live in Kano. That’s the Nigeria I think about, that’s the Nigeria we should be asking for. We should not wait for them (other aspirants)to bring money. If they bring, you take. This is not time for grammar, this is time for practice. If anybody comes to speak grammar, let him show you evidence. That’s why I put the word on your mouth ‘how?’ it’s a basic word you can use to reduce anybody to the barest minimum. Those who know me know that I deliver when I take up a job and they are there for you to see.
“Your governor asked me to help get railway into Akure, the design is on. We are going to construct from Ore into Akure (Lagos-Calabar rail). It’s not politics, it’s awarded. Your governor pushed and pushed, and I spoke to the President, and the president agreed that we should take a spur into Akure. It wasn’t there before we came. The design was from Lagos to Calabar. Don’t gamble with your future. It’s just like Ekiti, it was not on the map I think it was the President who went there for campaign and they pushed it, he said yes. It’s there, it’s been approved.
“So we both need each other if we want to move forward, and one thing you can trust me for is that I’m a very honest man. They say I’m brash, they say I’m blunt, but I don’t know how you can be honest without being blunt. The truth is that the choice is between you and I to move this country forward. Please vote for us during the primaries, and if we win the primaries, please vote for us at the general elections.”
Responding, Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa said Amaechi’s experience is not in doubt as well as his performance, and hailed his courage to aspire to the presidency, while assuring that the State and its delegates will participate strongly at the primaries.
“I want to first of all salute your courage to aspire to be the President of this nation. It is a bold step, because to rule a nation like Nigeria is not for the fainthearted. You must be very courageous, and I know you to be one. You also rolled out your CV to us and we know it even without seeing it. You are more like a household name in Nigeria.
“Let me borrow a word from my principal, the greatest privilege anyone can have is to be a public servant. And we have seen you in the last two decades doing that, so the records of all you have done are there for all to see. It is only the people that can adjudge what you have done. They always say that when somebody is regarded as a good leader, it is not the amount of money in his bank account, but the service he has been able to render to the people and that is what you have been doing in the last two decades.
“Here in Ondo State, the Governor is our leader and he is your friend, so wherever he asks us to go, that is where we go. We are women and men under authority, but we guarantee that Ondo State will not be passive in the electoral process. We shall participate fully,” Aiyedatiwa said.
On the other hand, the Ekiti monarch, Oba Adejugbe while welcoming Amaechi to the State said, “we know you are a distinguished Nigerian. Nigeria is lucky this time around that we have people like you in the race, and I thank you for the sympathy with the traditional institution. I pray that we visit the insecurity situation in the country, so that the atmosphere will be conducive enough for us to conduct a credible election. Chief Amaechi, you’re welcome to our environment. We vouch for you, and we know what you stand for.”