This piece is born out of a news story that was published in a local newsparper called, National Network Newpaper wherein one Polycarp Nwaeke wrote and I quote “Dr Abiye Sekibo, a governorship aspirant in the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), has described Amaechi as the most unpopular governor in the history of Rivers State, saying his unpopularity would make it easier for people to vote him out”.
One may ask therefore, on what yardstick Dr. Abiye Sekibo arrived at such an unfortunate, melancholic and educated-illiterate conclusion that “Governor Amaechi is very unpopular”. If “popular” according to the 7th Edition of Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary means to be liked or enjoyed by a large number of people and “popularity” means the state of being liked, enjoyed and supported by a large number of people, it then means that Dr Abiye Sekibo lacks proper grasping of the word – popular.
Without mincing words, Governor Amaechi epitomizes the words popular and popularity not minding what Dr. Abiye said to the contrary.
It would be recalled that the Rivers State House of Assembly and Traditional Council of Chiefs, Princewill Political Associates, students, international personalities just to mention but a few encouraged and endorsed Amaechi to run for a second term.
One may pose this question, why then did the state house of assembly members endorse Amaechi for second term bid recently if he was actually unpopular as Dr.Abiye want to make the public believe? The answer is not far-fetched.
After assessing Amaechi’s performance within a period of three and half years, having delivered to the people of Rivers State the benefits of democracy, the State House of Assembly scored him high. Commenting on this, one Nwaorgu Faustinus said, “Rivers State House of Assembly in a motion moved by Hon. Henry Ogiri, who represents Abua/Odual Constituency and seconded by Hon. Onari Brown from Akuku-Toru Constituency 11, which was supported by the House and approved by the Speaker, Hon. Tonye Harry urged Governor Amaechi to have a shot at the office for a second term”.
Writing on the achievement of Governor Amaechi in a thesis titled, “Chibuike Amaechi’s Ingenious Revolution in Rivers State Claims it’s First Political Casualty one Chukwuemeka Eze , a Media Consultant based in Port Harcourt reeled out thus:
“In Education, the Government of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi has not only offered free education to the people of Rivers State up to Secondary School level and offered scholarship in different universities in different parts of the world – i. Canada 297, ii. India: 202, iii. Ireland: 30, IV. Singapore: 136, v. United Kingdom: 384, VI and over 1049 students studying abroad under the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA). Apart from these human development efforts the government has provided about 350 model primary schools which are at various stages of completion; 24 model Secondary Schools across the State at various stages of completion and provision of ICT in all her schools and fully equipping the schools with science and relevant facilities. Comprehensive training programs for over 800 Teachers at the primary and post primary levels is ongoing.
Under the Rivers State Government tremendous revolution in Health, the Government is offering free health services to all her citizenry in all government owned hospitals or health centers. To achieve this, Government has Constructed 160 Health Centres in all the LGAs and construction of 1000 bed specialist hospital with other special intervention in this area.
The Rivers State Government is investing at least N100b per year from 2008 till 2010 in provision of roads, bridges and Social amenities. In this regard, the Government has engaged in the construction of 800km roads with 250 already completed. 10 major bridges under construction with 3 already completed. 20 minor bridges under construction with four completed, 2flyover/interchange under construction. 6 Land reclamation/shore protection projects at Andoni, Opobo, Buguma, Abalama, Olombie/Owukiri Island, Oba Ama, Okirika with 1,1400,000km 2 completed. 2 major markets and a shopping mall under construction (phase 1 of mile 1 market housing 960 shops and two banking halls completed)
Apart from all these the Rivers State Government has built three power stations at Omoku (150 Mega watts), Trans-Amadi (130 Mega watts) and Eleme (75 mega watts). By June, 2011, capacity will be increased to 500 Mega Watts under the $195 million dollars 180 MW gas turbine awarded to Saipem. Seven Transmissions stations (132/33 kilo volts) and 7 Distribution injection sub-stations 33/11 Kilo Volts built”.
The aforementioned performance is only a tip of the iceberg of what he has done. It was in recognition of the above achievements that various awards were given to Governor Amaechi which is on record for doubting Thomas’s to refer to. They include, Social Enterprise Report and Awards (SERA)’s, Sarduana Governor Award of the Year, etc.
Again, in Andy Briggs report awards list 2010 community relations award for 2010, Governor Amaechi was a nominee in the following categories: Best Performing Governor on The Niger Delta, Best Performing Governor on Wealth and Employment Generation, Best Performing Governor on Cultural Development, Best Performing Governor on Security (Law & Order) and Best Performing Governor on Roads and Transport.
Recently, a two-million-man march was organized by Rivers State people among other stackholders in solidarity for Amaechi’s achievement and to endorse him for a second term.
Do the foregoing testimonies depict Amaechi as someone who is unpopular among his people? The answer is a capital NO! Why then did Dr. Abiye make such uncomplimentary remark about the Governor? The reason can only be found in his bias mind. For sometime now, Dr. Abiye has relapsed into political obscurity or oblivion. It is being alleged in some quarters that such untoward comment was made to malign, castigate and present Amaechi in a bad light in the minds of right thinking people as well as to leverage his (Dr. Abiye’s) political image which has waned.
Churchill Onyemaechi, a member of Advocates for Good Leadership, wrote from Eleme, Rivers State.