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Amaechi: When Luck Is Unduly Benevolent

But there was something luck failed to do for Amaechi. It failed to teach him the virtue called humility

BALA DAN ABU         e-mail: bala.danabu@theunion.com.ng

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, immediate past governor of Rivers State, is indeed a man of immense good luck. His name should have been Goodluck. I wonder why his parents were not prophetic enough with the names they chose for him. More than anything else, luck – that benevolent phenomenon that propels the unseen hands of fate that guide human destiny and guarantees its success even where others fail, has been very intemperately generous with Amaechi. This has nothing yet to do with whatever he may become in the new administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. If you can recall, this Amaechi was just an ordinary personal assistant to Dr. Peter Odili at the time the later ran his personal private clinic in Port Harcourt. He tagged along in that role even when Odili became deputy governor.

When his boss was eventually nominated to run for the office of the Governor of Rivers State, luck also opened the doors for Amaechi. He contested for membership of the Rivers State House of Assembly and won. Luck was not yet done with Amaechi. The new Governor Odili wanted somebody he could trust as Speaker of the state House of Assembly. His mind settled on no other person but Amaechi whom he not only supported for the job but ensured that he remained in that position for eight years. From then, luck changed into a miracle worker in the life of Amaechi and made him governor of the state against all odds. You haven’t forgotten that landmark Supreme Court ruling and the events that led to it, have you? Amaechi had contested for his party’s governorship ticket in 2007 and won it.

While waiting for the main election date, he was told that his nomination had a “k-leg” and he was dropped. He went to court but lost at the lower rung of the judicial ladder. But the Supreme Court, the final arbiter in such matters handed out a furious judgment that sealed the hopes of his traducers. It pronounced Amaechi governor and ordered that he should be sworn in immediately.

In other words, Amaechi got from the court more than he had asked for, thus becoming the only person so far in the recent political history of Nigeria that will become governor of a state without running for the office through a general election. Again luck was at work. But there was something luck failed to do for Amaechi. It failed to teach him the virtue called humility. It only pampered him excessively and turned him a spoilt political child. And Amaechi learnt no moral lesson from the great hand of fate that had held his hand all the way up the ladder of success.

Even the miracle of his elevation from the abyss of rejection to the powerful position of governor of one of the wealthiest states in Nigeria did not appeal to Amaechi as good reason to show humility towards his mentors. During the entire duration of his eight-year tenure as governor, Odili remained his enemy. Some other person would have done everything possible to win back the heart of the man who had done so much for him. But not Amaechi! And as if that was not bad enough, Amaechi took on President Goodluck Jonathan, his Niger Delta kinsman, and thoroughly pummelled him politically. It was the last thing to expect a Niger Deltan to do to a fellow Niger Deltan who happens to be the very first person from that region to climb to the highest political stool in Nigeria. He showed no respect for him as a person or for the office that he held.

That is not to say, though, that the former President’s side of the altercation had no fault of its own. But it was expected that Amaechi’s reaction should have come with a lot more decorum and respect for the former first family. It was for this reason that a lot of people believed that Amaechi was wrong. It was Amaechi’s luck at work when President Jonathan lost his re-election bid.

If that election had ended otherwise, Amaechi would have had to flee this country. Jonathan would have come out hard on him and what is happening now between him and Governor Nyesom Wike, his successor at Government House, Port Harcourt, would have been a child’s play. Jonathan’s exit from power is the reason Amaechi is still showing his face all over the country unabashedly. He has escaped the anger of all those he offended and who were waiting for him to come out of his privileged political cocoon to exact their pound of flesh. Some people have said Wike is still enough of a problem for Amaechi.

I’m not sure about that. I don’t know how far he can go with the allegations he’s raising against Amaechi. Wike seems to be aware of the limitations of his effort in a system where his party is a minority. How far he can go will be determined by the attitude of the majority party and its leaders to the issue of corruption. And that’s the reason he was recently quoted as asking for the support of President Muhammadu Buhari against Amaechi. Whether Buhari will support an opposition governor against a chieftain of his own party who made generous financial contributions towards the success of the party what Nigerians will have to wait and see.

I don’t even know if many people believe in the credibility of the allegations Wike is raising against Amaechi. There is the tendency for people to dismiss them as an extension of the battle for the soul of the state which ended in the election of Wike as governor. But whichever way the present efforts by Wike end, Amaechi would still need to thank God for the role of luck as a willing arbiter in all the issues that dogged his way up the political ladder and for resolving most of them in his favour.

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