Amaechi always under fire at home, but…
…Lone voice shouts back, names rail projects, others heading to S/South
Rivers State seems to be the most hostile state (government) to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, and that is for obvious reasons. It is the fallout of the political crisis in the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) family which began in 2012 and rages on. His deeds seem to not reckon at home but the usual lone voice has shouted back, pointing to Amaechi’s feats.
Rivers State was not only taken from Amaechi who had decamped with his loyal team to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and rallied under Muhammadu Buhari who later became president, but was being pelted from home. He was the minister-nominee with the biggest battle to be screened.
Amaechi fought what many called survival battle and waged war against the president, Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, but his former ally and minister of education, Nyesom Wike, was brought in to fight.
Wike succeeded in taking the state from him but Amaechi took the federal government from them. Equation seemed to balance and destruction was mutually assured. Both Wike and Amaechi seem to have a role-reversal, and it has not been easy for any of the two Ikwerre kinsmen.
Now, many critics or those regarded as Amaechi-haters have continued to insist that Amaechi’s charity has not only begun abroad but resides abroad. They point to the Ibadan-Lagos modern rail line, the Abuja-Kaduna line, the Abuja international airport wonders, the Railway University in Daura, etc. They stuff the airwaves with what Wike did to his state as minister for eight years.
Now, the ‘lone voice, the former National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) and chieftain of the APC, Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, has roared out once again. He has described as monumental, the FG’s approval of N1.7Bn for the construction of a jetty in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State. He said the project is projected to be completed in 15 months time.
The chief also mentioned the proposed New Warri Sea Port and described Amaechi as the ‘Pride and Hero of South-South’. In a statement circulated to media houses in the South-South, Eze said the Transportation Minister has once again proved beyond doubts that he means well for the country and her citizens. He commended the Minister for always putting the country first in his development schemes which he said has transformed the travails of the transportation sector to a success story within record time.
Eze mentioned the first-ever Bonny/Bodo Road Project, now said to be 60 per cent completed as well as the signing of NLNG Train 7 project, among others, as economic accelerators that would enhance human and vehicular movement and link Bonny to the rest of Nigeria.
The party chief expressed happiness over the federal government preparedness to build a new sea port estimated to cost $800 million in Pessu area of Warri in Delta state. This, according to him, is again the brainchild of the Minister of Transportation in his determination to achieve the best for Nigerians in all areas of the transportation sector.
With the following projects attracted through Amaechi to the South-South region, Eze said the Minister has further revealed that he is the most outstanding Minister ever from the region. He went ahead to point at the completion and commissioning of the PH. International Airport; implementation of the UNEP Report on Ogoni; the development of Railway Industrial Park in Port Harcourt, and the proposal for Railway connection to Bonny Island Deep Sea port from Port Harcourt.
Eze quoted Amaechi as saying that negotiations are already ongoing with the Chinese Government to begin the project. He also revealed that the FG will also continue its negotiations with Russians for the commencement of the Lagos-Calabar Rail Project.
He went on: “The six geo-political zones are all covered, Port Harcourt –Maiduguri covered Port Harcourt, Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, Enugu, Abakaliki, Awka, Markurdi, Lafia, Akwanga, Jos, Bauchi Gombe and connects to Yobe, Damaturu and then Maiduguri.
“The Lagos Calabar is the whole of the South-South. We have Lagos coming through Akure, Benin and then from Benin and we have a spot leading to Agbor and Asaba and then to Onitsha and then you continue to Benin to Ughelii, Warri, Yenagoa, Port Harcourt, Aba, Uyo and Calabar that takes care of the South-South while Port Harcourt – Maiduguri takes care of the South East and the North East.
“The Lagos Kano also takes care of South West and part of the North West, and North Central. The central line that starts from Abuja also takes care of the North Central, Kogi, and also takes care of kwara and all of these requires money”,
Eze further reported that currently what we have as functional lines are Lagos-Ibadan 156km, Abuja-Kaduna 186km and Itakpe-Warri which is about 350km all put together Under this Government we have recorded a total about 600+km of railway and by the time we complete Ibadan-kano which is about 860km, we will be having 1500+km railway constructed by this Government
Eze wants to be educated that if this is not revolution what is revolution all about.
All these projects and many more are aimed at fast tracking development, boasting the economy and ameliorating the unemployment situation in the region as many skilled and unskilled workers will be required for its execution.
Eze encouraged Amaechi not to be dismayed by forces who think by attacking him and plotting to dismantle his political structure that they will become relevant in the politics of the region and Nigeria at large and should continue with his patriotic zeal to give Nigeria and Nigerians a new dimension in the leadership of the country.
Eze further stated that the leadership position of Amaechi within the hierarchy of APC based on the risks and inputs he made in its formation, stability and sustainability coupled with his key role in the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari are neither in doubt or can be questioned by any body no matter how political naive such a leader or person can be.
Amaechi was taken to the cleaners in his home state when he flagged off the Transportation University to Daura in Kastina State but he fired back, saying Jonathan took a federal university to his village, Otueke, in Bayelsa State, and it was hailed. He had pointed at many Rivers sons and daughters he said he took to China to major in train techs, unsung.
Eze added a voice, saying connecting the entire country with railway system was no project for a state but a national strategic plan.
Others pointed out that the first modern train line to be commissioned was the Port-Aba system that runs about six time per day, rescuing most traders between both cities since the total collapse of the Port Harcourt/Aba highway.
The fierce debate may not end in a hurry as politics with its loud talks seems to be the most thriving industry in Nigeria at the moment.