Rotimi Amaechi, a former minister of transportation and the governor of Rivers State, has expressed sadness at the poor state of Nigeria’s government.
He blamed the situation on a lack of responsibility, claiming that those in positions of power had been given free rein to act badly without facing consequences.
The head of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, said during a fundraising dinner for former chief of the air staff and candidate for governor of Bauchi State, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, rtd, that individuals who serve as governors of their states without robbing their states’ treasuries do so out of self-discipline and a desire to install effective leadership, not because they feel like they are being watched.
He praised Abubakar, the recently-retired ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Chad, as a superb retired public servant whom he had known while the latter served as the commander of the Nigerian Air Force unit in Rivers State during the period when he was in power as the state’s governor.
He said that Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the former Chief of Army Staff and Brigade Commander of the Nigerian Army, as well as Sadique Abubakar, had never asked him for money before leaving the state since “people lobby to be transferred to Rivers State to earn money.”
He said:”Sadique was the commander of the Nigerian Air Force in Rivers State. General Buratai was also the Brigade Commander at the time. I wish that Nigerians were like you because I was not under any pressure from you to give you money until you left and I was surprised at that because the reason why Nigerians come to Rivers State is to collect money. When it’s time for postings, they lobby to be posted there, because they want to get money. And if you remember, that was at the height of fighting criminals. So while Nigerians were saying that Amaechi was a no-nonsense governor, they didn’t know that it was you people (Sadique and Buratai) that made me the no-nonsense governor.
“Today,I ask you, the people from Bauchi to think twice about governance in Nigeria, it’s been very bad. The reason why it’s bad is that we vote for people who don’t know what governorship is all about. You vote for people who see governorship as employment, who go there to make money. And unfortunately for all of you, people are not held accountable for what they do.
” And the worse is that Nigerians don’t care to hold people accountable for what they do. So if you are voted in as governor, then it is your discipline that determines how you behave not because anybody will check you or not because anybody will punish you.
“If you like, go to Bauchi State and take everything, nobody will ask you. In fact, Nigerians will come to your house and dance for you. So vote for anybody who is disciplined enough to leave your money at Bauchi State Government House, since there is no way to check anybody.
” The best thing to do is to vote for anybody who has the fear of God, who is contented with providing you with service, who thinks that the public office he holds is for the people, who understands that if there are no people, he would not govern. Think back.,” he said.
He recalled that “In the past, rich men used to go home and people gather to dance for you and eat your food. Now, nobody gathers to eat your food, they want to eat you because you have eaten enough and nothing is remaining. So sit back and vote for the person that will recover your state “
The politician who lamented the country’s governance suggested that it be reset and return to the government of the 1970s, which he said made people safe, made education accessible to everyone, and made the cost of life low for everybody.
“If we don’t want to progress, let us go back to the 1970s. Vote for that governor that if he can’t take you forward, let him take you back to 1970. In the 1970s, there was no free education but there were schools. There was power. It was safe, you could drive anywhere, and you could drive from Port-Harcourt to Bauchi. You could leave Port-Harcourt by 10 pm and get to Bauchi by 8 am and nothing would happen to you. Try driving from here to Nyanya now and see what will happen to you. So, God has provided us with somebody and that person is Sadique Abubakar.
“Don’t vote where you will regret again because that is what Nigerians don’t know. They will provide you with money you don’t know it’s your own and you will collect and still vote for them and then two months after, you start regretting it.
” The problem with Nigerians is that if they come back a day to election and provide you with money, you will forget what you have gone through in the past four years and vote for them again.
“So here, you have two responsibilities, the first responsibility is not that of prayer yet, leave a prayer for people like us, it’s that of asking questions. Ask those that want to run for the governorship of Bauchi,’ show me what you have done.’ Hold your leaders accountable.
” Ask that politician that was two years ago, driving and pushing Mercedes Benz and now bought his Jeep how he gets the Jeep. Ask that question in Bauchi and you will vote for Sadique because he has good character and I can endorse that. Hold me responsible if he fails.
“If he could be the Commander of the Nigerian Air Force in my state and never asked me for money, I’m not lying and I’m not joking. Both he nor Buratai never asked me for money. If he could do that, it means that if you give him what you have in Bauchi, the state will turn around.
“The reason why you don’t go home to Bauchi is that all the poor men’s children that have been denied the right to exist are waiting for you on the road,” he further said.