Re: Amaechi’s God Com­plex

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When Shaka Mo­modu in his col­umn, This Repub­lic pub­lished on the back page of THISDAY News­pa­per of Fri­day, July 21, 2017, wrote the ti­tled ar­ti­cle: “Amaechi’s God Com­plex”, what in­ten­tion he strove to ac­com­plished is lost in my imag­i­na­tion and per­haps those who have been ar­dent fol­low­ers of his col­umn as I have been.

For the first time, I am wont to take di­ver­gence in his sum­ma­tions, which dia­lec­tics stilt largely from in­ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion at his dis­posal and set for a mat­ter of pub­lic dis­course that would fur­ther en­rich our un­der­stand­ing of the so call ‘God com­plex’ in the enigma called Chibuike Ro­timi Amaechi.

In­ad­ver­tently put, Mo­modu’s Amaechi’s God Com­plex’s ar­ti­cle could be de­con­structed into two main frames: the mun­dane side of Amaechi and his spir­i­tual side for proper per­spec­tives in the un­der­stand­ing of the real mean­ing of the in­ten­tions of the au­thor as re­flected in the said ar­ti­cle.

What though is lost is what he in­tended to achieve with the mun­dane side of Amaechi and his spir­i­tual side. Is there a nexus be­tween the mun­dane side of Amaechi and the spir­i­tual side of Amaechi? Can the mun­dane side en­hance the po­lit­i­cal dis­course in Rivers State in par­tic­u­lar and Nige­ria in gen­eral?

Can the spir­i­tual side of Amaechi fur­ther dis­course in the Nige­rian polity, nay Rivers State? Such are the thoughts that pressed on the sub­con­scious mind that reads Mo­modu’s Amaechi’s God Com­plex.

Taken in a su­perla­tive con­text, Mo­modu’s Amaechi’s God com­plex is, but a flight of ad­junct su­per­flu­ous­ness, mea­sured and de­lib­er­ately writ­ten to con­fuse, rather than en­hance fur­ther dis­course of how the per­sonae Amaechi fit into the Nige­rian con­tex­tual po­lit­i­cal land­scape. Mo­modu’s Amaechi’s God Com­plex was writ­ten to fore­close sim­i­lar minds that may be liv­ing in ab­strac­tions just as the au­thor.

The Nige­rian po­lit­i­cal stage, just like any other is flu­ids with a lot of cor­ri­dors and pas­sages to take in which­ever di­rec­tion the politi­cian wants to. What is cer­tain is that the end re­sult is not al­ways cer­tain. What, how­ever, is cer­tain is that the out­come de­fines who you are, good or bad. But it would be a curse if an in­di­vid­ual fails to take the step. This can’t be said of Chibuike Amaechi, in all his po­lit­i­cal life. He took a step.

The mun­dane side of Amaechi: per­mit me not to bore you with repet­i­tive non es­sen­tials in the said write up. But the specifics of Mo­modu’s 240 lines ar­ti­cle posit that Chibuike Ro­timi Amaechi rose from the me­nial po­si­tion of Per­sonal As­sis­tant to Dr. Peter Odili when he was a Med­i­cal Doc­tor to be made Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assem­bly for eight years and later Gov­er­nor for an­other eight years. Mo­modu put this rise to god­fa­therism and a cu­ri­ous judg­ment of the ju­di­ciary. He dis­missed Amaechi’s rise in the mun­dane sphere as the el­e­va­tion of vi­sion­less peo­ple viz, plun­der­ers, prof­i­teers, gang­sters with their man­i­fest ten­den­cies into po­si­tion of lead­er­ship and au­thor­ity. This, to me, is the height of in­dis­cre­tion a colum­nist could pub­licly ex­hibit. There­fore, I beg to dif­fer.

I would rather think that Amaechi was made of the milk of hu­mil­ity when he ac­cepted to serve as Per­sonal As­sis­tant to a Med­i­cal Doc­tor after grad­u­a­tion from the univer­sity. A po­si­tion which nei­ther adds to his personality; but def­i­nitely a sub­trac­tion, con­sid­er­ing that he was the im­me­di­ate past na­tional pres­i­dent of NURSS. Al­beit this, Odili must have seen a promis­ing fu­ture in Amaechi when he of­fered him the job. I see a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship be­tween Odili and Amaechi, rather than the non­lin­ear sight of Mo­modu.

We are all liv­ing wit­nesses to the cir­cum­stances that led to the Supreme Court judg­ment of Oc­to­ber 25 2007. There is no gain re­peat­ing the de­tails, but rather to state that Peter Odili’s PDP era was a mono­lithic po­lit­i­cal or­der that al­most fore­closed po­lit­i­cal space and any­one with am­bi­tion to climb the lad­der. Politi­cians queued to show ev­i­dence of loy­alty, service and re­spect for party lead­er­ship while party lead­ers lined up to give a nod of ap­proval or dis­ap­proval.

In this sit­u­a­tion, one can­not chal­lenge party hege­mony. But Amaechi did and won. Why be­grudge him for win­ing? It is dis­taste­ful to call a Supreme Court judg­ment cu­ri­ous! Let us not lose sight of a state­ment of the Supreme Court rul­ing which only stated that, in the eyes of the law, Ce­les­tine Ome­hia was the al­ter ego of Chibuike Amaechi. It there­fore can­not be said that Amaechi did not con­test elec­tion to be made gov­er­nor of Rivers State. He did by proxy, so said the law.

If there was any doubt as to who was the preferred can­di­date be­tween Ce­les­tine Ome­hia and Chibuike Amaechi in 2007, that bat­tle of supremacy or pop­u­lar­ity was set­tled in 2011 when both stood elec­tion for APGA and PDP re­spec­tively and Ce­les­tine lost gal­lantly. Throw­ing up the 2007 Supreme Court Judg­ment at each time Amaechi’s name is men­tioned, is but an in­tel­lec­tual lazi­ness and is wont to add lit­tle or no value to the dis­course. Amaechi’s chal­lenge of the PDP’s hi­er­ar­chy in 2007 and win­ing same was like a breath of fresh air after the sti­fling po­lit­i­cal space of the Odili’s era.

The spir­i­tual side of Amaechi: cit­ing Chinua Achebe, Mo­modu stated: “Those who have their paths cleared by the benev­o­lent spir­its should not for­get to be hum­ble.” The best bet in this com­ment would be in the con­clu­sion that one could smell a stint of jeal­ousy in the ink of ShakaMo­modu as he writes his Amaechi’s God Com­plex for his col­umn, This Repub­lic. In a politi­cian like Amaechi, his strings of vic­to­ries in pol­i­tics are enough to evoke envy and petty jeal­ousy in his foes and fans alike.

When no one thought of chal­leng­ing party hege­mony, he did and won the Rivers State cov­eted gov­er­nor­ship seat. He de­fied the PDP ap­pa­ratchik and won the then gov­er­nor’s fo­rum chair­man­ship po­si­tion. He was the ful­crum of the All Progress Congress (APC). As the Direc­tor Gen­eral of the Buhari’s cam­paign or­ga­ni­za­tion, he su­per­in­tended the de­feat of Dr.Good­luck Jonathan; in the first ever tran­si­tion from a rul­ing party to the op­po­si­tion. His ju­di­cial vic­to­ries are so in­fec­tious that politi­cians strug­gle to repli­cate them in all spheres. So enig­matic is his name that it would not be out of place for Mo­modu to as­so­ciate him with the God com­plex!

Let me ad­dress the su­perla­tives which formed the choice of words in the ti­tle. Mo­modu quoted Amaechi as say­ing: “In my ca­pac­ity as the leader of APC in Rivers State, Abe can­not be the gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date of the party in Rivers State in 2019. Abe has no char­ac­ter.”

Mo­modu’s angst with the word­ing saw Amaechi play­ing God when this same Abe was his Sec­re­tary to the State Gov­ern­ment and once feigned be­ing shot for his sake. Mo­modu also pointed to other un­sa­vory state­ments made by the for­mer gov­er­nor and the APC leader in the state con­cern­ing other party stal­warts. Taken on their face val­ues, the word­ings are very strong terms to de­scribe the personality of the eru­dite Sen­a­tor of the Fed­eral Repub­lic. But in truth, can those words be taken to mean the per­cep­tions of what Amaechi holds of the per­son of Abe? Can such a speech, in this age of dou­ble­s­peak, in the quick sand of Nige­rian pol­i­tics, be taken for real? I doubt lt. My only sum­ma­tion here is that Shaka Mo­modu has been taken in, in the dou­ble­s­peak of Chibuike Amaechi and con­cluded that the words meant what they were.

Per­haps, Abe’s re­ply would help as it seems that he best un­der­stood what his party leader meant when he stated that he has no char­ac­ter. Hear him speak­ing to his kins­men in Ogoni recently: “Let me use the op­por­tu­nity of this visit to ad­dress some is­sues in our great party, the APC in Rivers State and to say clearly for the record that there are no mem­bers of the party, including my­self, that is dis­put­ing the lead­er­ship of my friend, the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Ro­timi Amaechi. We are not dis­put­ing with him who is the leader of the party. He is the leader and will con­tinue to be the leader of our party in Rivers State.” Abe un­der­stood Amaechi’s di­a­tribes as ac­cus­ing him of hav­ing no re­gard for his lead­er­ship of the party in Rivers State and pub­licly of­fered oth­er­wise. Abe’s com­ment means he holds Amaechi’s lead­er­ship of the APC in Rivers State in very high re­gards. End of the mat­ter.

Again, Mo­modu wrote based on hearsay, as all that he quoted were not in pub­lic do­main. It is ob­vi­ous that both Abe and Dakuku have ben­e­fited from Amaechi’s po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sions over the years, and will not be sur­prised if he ever sounded that way. He knows how best to ap­proach the en­emy out­side, par­tic­u­larly now that there is a crude, re­cal­ci­trant, for­mi­da­ble foe to con­tend with. So also, Amaechi who un­der­stands what it means and takes to be a Gov­er­nor in Rivers state may not have made a mis­take to have said that Abe do not have char­ac­ter. He knows that to have char­ac­ter, it means the sup­port and the strength­en­ing of the party by en­sur­ing that ev­ery­body re­mains in one ship. Amaechi’s choice of words was apt in the face of de­camp­ments in the Rivers APC.

One fi­nal com­ment that per­haps may point to some un­sa­vory lan­guage used by Amaechi in the weeks of party re­align­ment to him­self may be in the mat­ter put be­fore him con­cern­ing the party, on which he needed to stamp his au­thor­ity. This is con­tained in the press brief­ing given by the chair­man of the party in the state, Chief Davis Ikan­nya. Per­haps, if Mo­modu has this clip, he would have thought oth­er­wise in his write up. Said Ikan­nya: “After a care­ful ap­praisal of the po­lit­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in Rivers State in the past two years, we have come to the con­clu­sion that cer­tain is­sues re­quire spe­cial men­tion and doc­u­men­ta­tion for the pur­pose of clear un­der­stand­ing, di­rec­tion and ben­e­fit of pos­ter­ity, we note with shock a state­ment cred­ited to a group that calls it­self Rivers El­ders Con­sul­ta­tive Coun­cil led by a cer­tain Dr. Granville Abiye Georgewill in which the said Dr.Georgewill dis­par­aged the per­son of our re­spected leader and men­tor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Ro­timi Amaechi, Hon­ourable Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion for al­legedly fa­cil­i­tat­ing a stake­holder meet­ing dur­ing the visit of Act­ing Pres­i­dent, Prof.Yemi Os­in­bajo to Rivers State recently.

We un­equiv­o­cally state that the APC Family in Rivers State un­der the lead­er­ship of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Ro­timi Amaechi re­mains solidly uni­fied, co­he­sive and in­tact. We wish to warn that any per­son or per­sons in the family that may lend them­selves to the machi­na­tions of the en­emy will be do­ing a great dis­ser­vice to the party. We urge the party to watch out for such per­sons and take ap­pro­pri­ate dis­ci­plinary ac­tions in es­tab­lished cases. We re­it­er­ate that the loy­alty of each and ev­ery mem­ber of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress, APC, in Rivers State is to the party, un­der the able-lead­er­ship of our great leader, Chibuike Ro­timi Amaechi.”

Ikan­nya’s cen­tral theme in his brief­ing was that the lead­er­ship of the party was dis­par­aged and that there was a ques­tion of loy­alty. Go­ing into 2019, the APC can­not win the ul­ti­mate prize with a dis­par­aged lead­er­ship with a du­bi­ous claim on loy­alty, hence the grand stand­ing of Chibuike Amaechi. As a mat­ter of hind­sight, the APC Rivers State is stand­ing on three pow­er­ful tripods that does not auger well for it to re­main one. The first tri­pod be­long to the Hon­ourable Min­is­ter of Trans­porta­tion, Ro­timi Amaechi; the sec­ond, Sen­a­tor Mag­nus Abe, sen­a­tor rep­re­sent­ing Rivers - East Senatorial Dis­trict in Nige­ria’s 8th Assem­bly and the third, the Direc­tor- Gen­eral of the Nige­rian Mar­itime and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr.Adol Dakuku Peter­side.

Be­tween the last two tripods, Abe and Peter­side, the heat gen­er­ated for their gu­ber­na­to­rial am­bi­tions by their sup­port­ers al­most tore the party in the state apart. With the state lead­er­ship seem­ingly un­able to whip party faith­ful in line for san­ity to pre­vail, the lead­er­ship of the party re­verts to their na­tional leader Chibuike Amaechi to stem the tide of dis­af­fec­tion and de­ser­tions plagu­ing the party. Amaechi’s weld­ing of the big stick against Abe and other se­nior party mem­bers was to cre­ate a level play­ing field in the party as the party plots to wres­tle the state from the PDP. The strat­egy may not have been san­guine, but for now, san­ity has re­turned to the state APC.

For 16 con­sec­u­tive years Chubuike Ro­timi Ameachi pulled the strings and weath­ered the po­lit­i­cal storm in Rivers State leav­ing his name on the sands of time. No won­der at the Fed­eral Min­istry of trans­porta­tion where he cur­rently su­per­in­tends over, is on the fast track of un­com­mon devel­op­ment. No thanks to his sense of com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion, dot­ted by his vi­sion and spirit of dogged­ness.

Be that as it may, one would have wished that Shaka Mo­modu’s Amaechi’s God com­plex have nar­ra­tives that would fur­ther na­tional dis­course rather than personality talks, be­cause whenever po­lit­i­cal dis­course is God cen­tered, it be­comes fu­tile to progress for­ward or build con­sen­sus. Mo­modu’s God cen­tered ap­proach in the Amaechi’s mono­logue abruptly ends the nar­ra­tives, thereby de­feat­ing the pur­pose for which it was meant to serve or achieve.

In this, Mo­modu’s Amaechi’s God Com­plex failed in the nar­ra­tive, hence los­ing the point.

Amaechi

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