By Douglas Waserite Dodiyi-Manuel
As a people of an emerging generation, it is herein advised that we stand-up to the reality that has not only supplanted our desire to determine our destiny and course, but is yet again threatening to maintain the generational status quo. Friends, the human race has grappled through variations of industrial revolutions – we are now in the era of information technology and renewable energy. While Nigeria as a nation, was not part of the first, second or third industrial revolutions, information technology has thrusted us into a world of virtual dynamism; the circle of global interaction, and thus, eliminated every excuse for under-development. This is a call to an emerging generation to insist that Nigeria cannot be left out in the global developmental trend. It is a call to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi to complement our chorus with his hat in the ring, and contest for the president of Nigeria, come 2023.
According to Prof. PLO Lumumba, it is disgraceful in the United Nations General Assembly, how empty the hall traditionally is, whenever African leaders are speaking. This is because we do not matter. John Perkins in his work, Confessions of an Economic Hitman, revealed how powerless nations, such as we are, are conscripted into global monetary equations that are designed to impoverish us – Africa factually exists to palliate imbalances in global politics. That is why as an African, the moment you become president, you realize that there are certain things you can do nothing about. This leaves us with one fact, to be Nigeria’s president in the 21st century is not about ambition, but the capacity to lead an informed, vivacious and aggressive generation that is constantly engaged with a global audience, and lead the social, political and economic harvest that befits the ingenuity and valiance that characterizes the Nigerian.
PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT
It is myopic to adjudge project from the perspective of brick and mortar, such as road construction, flyover, stadium, etc. Project as a developmental term is a chronological amalgamation of standards that become functional phenomenon. Therefore, in order for any project to be referred to as state-of-the-art, certain criteria must be met: they are infrastructure, facility, equipment, expertise and administration.
As a Governor of Rivers State:
In the Education section, AMAECHI initiated a policy of modernization, pursuant to which every local government in Rivers State was dotted with academic infrastructure that are suitable for varying academic purposes, ranging from primary and secondary schools, to specialized library system for advanced research programs. Some can further be used as ICT correspondence centers for distant learning. For the modernization agenda, these infrastructures were capacitated with effectuating facilities such as independent utility (water and power), electronic and computer systems, and more. Also, the teachers in Rivers State were the highest paid in Nigeria, in addition they engaged in a continuous training program in order to achieve optimum scholarly expertise. All these were achieved and sustained through a self-piloting administrative protocol in order to make development in Rivers State, a systemic phenomenon.
In furtherance of the modernization philosophy of the administration, students were granted scholarship to study in developed countries in order to give the youth of Rivers State the opportunity to optimize their education, engender social and administrative reorientation, and improved skilled labour required to run a functional society. In addition to being the World Book Capital, the administration of AMAECHI adopted the annual Garden City Literary Festival in order to entrench literary culture in the younger generation. The ultimate agenda was aimed at making Rivers State the citadel of academic excellence.
In the Health sector, AMAECHI initiated a Health Service Infrastructural Program pursuant to which multiple hospitals and medical centers were built across the entire local governments of Rivers State, with adequate facilities and modern equipment as various health disciplines may require. The government of AMAECHI worked in partnership with the private sector in order to implement the Free Medical Care policy of the administration, with retained experts from the United States, United Kingdom, Cuba and India amongst others. This was aimed at rendering contemporary health services to the common, and this aim was achieved, thus, saving lives by rendering to the public, health services that hitherto were only obtainable overseas. The AMAECHI administration created a paradigm that made public private partnership work for all, drive the sector towards service orientation hinged on the Hippocratic persuasion of medical personnel. If your governor does not understand this, you are in trouble.
On the Agricultural sector, the AMAECHI policy was aimed at precedence of standards. To this end, modern agricultural businesses such as the Buguma Fish Farm, Songhai Farms, Tai Plantation, etc were established as model projects for public private partnership in the sector.
On Commerce and Industry, AMAECHI initiated a policy that alleviated tax burden on artisanal enterprises, in order to ensure that while the macroeconomic policy progresses, the common-man’s living wage is not compromised.
In Public Administration, AMAECHI discouraged the strong-man syndrome, and worked through strong institutions, such as the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA), Rivers State Road Maintenance Agency, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Agency amongst others, some of which he strengthened through legislations: by making them creations of statute, and subjecting them to administration by statutory dictates.
As a Minister of Transport:
To many Nigerians, rail transport was alien. Despite inheriting a decrepit rail infrastructure and dysfunctional management, AMAECHI through the leadership, guidance and motivation of President Mohammadu Buhari, has modernized the rail transport sub-sector. Today, from Lagos to Ibadan, Abuja to Kaduna, Warri to Itakpe and more are routes of convenience, luxury and efficiency – a glimpse of the modern world. Friends, this is the AMAECHI we present to Nigeria.
In addition to a modern rail transport, AMAECHI aiming at comprehensive development, sent Nigerians to China for training, in order to make sure that Nigeria enjoys technical security in the rail sector, and mitigates capital flight that would have been due to foreign maintenance.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Transportation under AMAECHI proposed and actualized the Transportation University in Katsina State – it is aimed at developing comprehensive human capital for the entire Transport sector; from rail to road, aviation to maritime. Meanwhile, the Eastern rail corridor, the Coastal rail from Calabar to Lagos are in the offing. Friends, the is the AMAECHI we present to Nigeria.
In the Ports and Maritime sub-sector, his achievements are equally defining. The man is not small minded – he goes for the ultimate prize of development. At the moment, the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port is ongoing. This is a phenomenal initiative aimed at mitigating economic diversion due to trans-shipment, and the attendant limitation of Nigeria’s logistics opportunities. With the actualization of the Lekki Deep Sea Port, jumbo vessels can now directly berth at our ocean terminal. More so, with the recently initiated rail linkage, Nigeria will thus, enjoy infrastructural efficiency.
Another landmark achievement of this administration associated with AMAECHI is the Deep Blue initiative, which enhances the security of our territorial waters through an integrative maritime security strategy that manages joint military exercise of the Nigerian Navy, Air Force and Army, as well as the Police and the Department of State Services. This project is also known as the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure – being the first of its kind in West and Central Africa, it has upgraded Nigeria’s military capabilities. Factually, AMAECHI initiated a transport management initiative that effectuated military upgrade. This is ingenuity. This is the AMAECHI we present to you.
At this juncture, it is important to shun retrogressive parameters of politics, such as have stunted the growth of this great nation. Our development is as simple as thinking right.
Appropriately speaking, nobody deserves to be our president, rather, the Nigerian people deserve good and meaningful leadership. If you must compensate anybody, it cannot be in politics, because that would be at the expense of a people’s destiny – this reduces public policy to the aggrandizement of individuals.
Our pledge should be to Nigeria our country, to be faithful, loyal and honest.
This is the time to think differently.
This is the time to engage in a new and productive narrative.
This is the time to implement a trans-generational transition in Nigerian politics.
This is the time of AMAECHI