The re-run that concluded Amaechi
I don’t know how much of the Rivers State re-run election is still outstanding. What I do know is that whatever that is outstanding will not be sufficient to return former governor of the state and now transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi to political reckoning. For reasons best known to it, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is releasing the outcomes piecemeal, almost under cover, as if they were stolen items. It has announced 15 results of which the PDP won 13 and the APC two.
Almost all other elections, except the governorship, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court, were annulled by the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt. Elections into the three senatorial seats, 12 federal constituencies and 22 state constituencies in the state, all won by the PDP were voided. Naturally, elements in the APC, and they include Rotimi Amaechi and the party’s flag bearer in the governorship election, Dakuku Peterside, interpreted the large-scale judicial reversals as confirmation of their claims that the 2015 general elections in Rivers State were massively rigged in favour of the PDP.
In fact, the Supreme Court’s January 27 validation of Nyesome Wike’s election as governor only short-changed, as it seemed, a grand calculation to have fresh polls altogether in Rivers State. Amaechi and his supporters, after what happened in 2015, needed another chance to prove a point about their inevitability in Rivers politics. Specifically, the re-match was to settle who between the top gladiators, Wike and Amaechi, would pass as the Aare Ona Kakanfo of Rivers politics.
And I want to add that a man does not become a generalissimo by loud proclamations. It comes with real and measurable exploits. The title is also not an aspiration; it is a description of real state of prowess. In the end, Amaechi, who talked loudest of a plan to dispatch Wike and return Rivers State to its rightful owners, the APC, came very short of his pre-battle proclamations. He had entered Port Harcourt almost triumphantly, even when the battle had not started. On his own and ahead of contest, he had declared victors and a vanquished. When the outcomes were not adding up, he retreated to Abuja quietly.
Amaechi’s second chance at self-assertion has just failed. I am not too sure if there will be a third chance to do the same thing in a world where even a second opportunity to recover what was lost in the first attempt is not always guaranteed. It is usually advisable to cut deepest with the first cut in case there is no other chance to strike again. The first time, Amaechi had eloquently explained his failure. He was up against a federal force and he had never stopped shouting that he was impeded by the overwhelming federal forces from staying on top of the processes in Rivers State in 2015.
God heard his voice and reversed the scenario in the March 19 rematch. Wike, who was a minister in 2015, has become a governor and Amaechi, who was governor then, has become a minister with total control of the so-called overwhelming federal forces. He was in the mood to maximally deploy his arsenal and finish matters once and for all. The usurper of his God-given throne must be dislodged.
But as it was on April 11 2015, so it is on March 19, and perhaps, ever shall be in Rivers politics till Amaechi changes strategy and tactics. Amaechi failed again and he is blaming it all on local forces, which miraculously overwhelmed his federal forces and kept him as an underdog. It does not matter what the distant and self-appointed interpreters of Rivers politics will say, the truth remains that the outcomes are not going to change significantly even if the Rivers re-run election were to run a thousand times.
I am saying that the issues are deeper than what the so-called Lagos press is prepared to capture. That Amaechi is placed by providence on a tall tree as a minister does not make him an eagle. He remains a ‘political chicken’ who is less able to defy the raging storm and soar to greater heights. He can only descend to his level which is already happening.
Be that as it may, Amaechi had the opportunity to build the capacity of an eagle when the same providence made him governor in 2007. All he needed do was to weave a new consensus around the forces that sought to enthrone and the counter forces that sought to destroy him in the build-up to the 2007 governorship contest in the state to develop a new leadership base that would approximate most aspirations. He would then remain in the centre of that transparent leadership base as the new hope of the people of Rivers State.
Unfortunately, Amaechi neither had the vision nor the sincerity of purpose to move things forward. He was obsessed with just acquiring power for his own purpose. And his purpose was to obliterate the old guards in an unrestrained vengeance mission and raise a new breed that would defer totally to him. He appropriated a status he had not attained in Rivers politics. Himself an upstart, he robed himself a grandmaster and became the head of a colony of upstarts. But because he had the means to make noise about a fathom prowess, he was taken too seriously by the APC stakeholders and other observers.
Now, the chickens are coming home to roost. Simply, Amaechi, even as a minister, does not have what it takes to impact the fundamentals of Rivers politics. He is, perhaps, taking the miracle of 2007 when he became governor without standing for election and without help from high quarters, too far. He now sees himself as God’s chosen who cannot be vanquished in battles. It is always the case with persons who lay claim to some strange anointing. They don’t know when that anointing expires. It happened to King Saul. He did not know when the spirit of God departed from him and in his delusion, he had moved against the purpose of God.
If the Grace is sufficient to strike a height, the character to stay on top and even soar, remains the responsibility of the individual. To be fair, God has done His bit regarding Amaechi but he, Amaechi, has failed to combine character with grace to remain tenable. He is on a political down turn not because of limited opportunities, but his inordinate quest for personal glory, which belies the purpose of God to make everyman/woman a servant and not master of humanity.
In other words, Amaechi cannot seek God outside the people of Rivers State. He should allow the people to decide. At Easter last year, he converted himself to a cross bearer; carrying a version that was almost bigger than the one bore by the Lord Christ Himself on the way to Calvary. It was a calculated spectacle to underscore the so-called persecution of Amaechi by hostile quarters and how he hoped to survive his travails clinging to the Old Rugged Cross. He forgot, for whatever reason, to re-enact the spectacle this year.
But now that there is fear of fresh persecution by local forces as against federal forces and as evident in the Rivers re-run, the cross bearing spectacle may return soon. Amaechi must reclaim his possession from enemies at all costs. The cost so far in terms of men and material is huge. It includes the death of a Youth Corps member and many others and destruction of property worth hundreds of millions. Still, the re-run remains inconclusive and yet unclear what it will cost to make it conclusive.
Even so, the Supreme Court had done so much with its validation of the governorship election in Rivers and other states to save cost. The cost in human and material loss could only be imagined if the governorship were among the elective seats open for grabs in the inconclusive Rivers State re-run. The cost is still running pending when INEC will make the re-run conclusive.