By Josephine Isaac
•Meets Ondo, Ekiti delegates, canvasses support
The Minister of Transport and presidential hopeful, Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has declared that only a man with courage and relevant experience could pilot the affairs of Nigeria at this difficult time in the country.
Amaechi stated this, when he separately visited the government and delegates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo and Ekiti States on Monday, to seek their support.
The minister, who also visited the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, stated that experience in governance mattered, but courage was required to run the affairs of a country like Nigeria, and had both.
“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,” he said.
Amaechi urged the delegates to always ask ‘how’ whenever politicians or aspirants come to them with promises, seeking their support.
His words: “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 our 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 speakers forum twice, so tell me why I’m not the most experienced?”
Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa said, Amaechi’s experience was 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 would participate strongly at the primaries.
On the other hand, the Ekiti monarch, Oba Adejugbe while welcoming Amaechi t 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.”