Amaechi in ‘siddon look’ mode as APC dances around Wike

Since his ouster from the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s presidential primary in circumstances that appeared not clear to him, Chibuike Amaechi, has decided to “siddon look” in the party.

It was the late Bola Ige, a former attorney-general of the federation that popularised the catchphrase “siddon look.”

This is a pidgin statement that tries to capture a decision to fold one’s arms and watch as things unfold without making any contribution. It came to a point on the nation’s political scene that things began to happen and Bola Ige decided to adopt a “siddon look” posture without any intervention.

This decision, most times, is not borne out of nonchalance, but out of the experience of bitter frustration that borders on cynicism, even though, a writer rightly noted that “cynicism is most cowardly of all responses to political trouble and it is because it obviates the politics of hope.”

Amaechi suffered double losses by virtue of attempting to seek the party’s presidential ticket. He did not only fail to get the ticket, he lost his juicy ministerial portfolio which was given to him by virtue of his huge investment in the Muhammadu Buhari presidential ambition in 2015 and 2019.

Amaechi resigned his appointment as minister of transportation in the hope that President Buhari, who was said to have given him the assurance of handing over power to him, lost control of the activities that gave rise to the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the party’s candidate.

Although he accepted defeat in the June event, the former governor of Rivers State has been sulking. Tinubu had visited him to seek his cooperation to deliver the victory for the party. But Amaechi has remained quiet.

In what seemed his disposition to the party in relation to the election, the former minister seems embittered over the conduct of the presidential primary and the level of dog-eat-dog that transpired.

On July 24, 2022, Amaechi, in an outburst at an event to mark the 60th birthday of Eugene Ogu, the general overseer of Abundant Life Evangel Mission in Port Harcourt, said: “God should save the ordinary Nigerian because they are the problem. Those who voted at the APC primary; who are they? The ordinary Nigerian. The small money they got solved their immediate problems.”

Amaechi polled 316 votes to come behind Tinubu that got 1271 votes at the Convention. Although he did not mention the aspirant who allegedly gave money to delegates to capture their votes, there were finger-pointing toward the direction of Tinubu. His supporters have since denounced such allegation.

The former minister took so many controversial steps while on his beat, which critics said were deliberately aimed at enhancing his political career.

Some of the projects he delivered attracted criticism as such projects were skewed in favour of the North, even to the Republic of Niger. He also concentrated a number of infrastructure in the President’s home state, Katsina.

These, pundits say, were done in the hope that he would be rewarded with the position of president in 2023.

When in February 2023, he was turbaned in Daura, he was sure that arrangements were concluded for his elevation to another level, politically.

On the day of the event, the Daura people said he merited the honour because he had justified his appointment as Minister of Transportation in the past few years. The locals chanted “Amaechi for president 2023.”

As minister, Amaechi gifted Daura a brand new Federal University of Transportation, a Premier Varsity on rail transportation.

With the trappings at the occasion the former governor began to see himself as Buhari’s successor. But the turn of event at the party’s presidential primary jolted him to reality that the praise singing and the assurances were all politics.

Amaechi, who felt robbed of what he believed belonged to him, was to get the shocker of his life when many chieftains of the party, including state governors, began to make a pilgrimage to the Rivers State Government House, to woo Governor Wike to the party on the back of the crisis in the PDP to which Wike is the arrow head.

The APC chieftains believed that with Wike, the party’s victory in the state was sacrosanct, that was even as a number of Amaechi’s loyalists were resigning their memberships of the APC over the fallout of the primary.

On June 18, Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi paid a visit to Wike in Port Harcourt. It was termed “a friendly and brotherly” visit.

On July 8, three governors of the APC, including the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Kayode Fayemi, held a closed door meeting with Wike in Port Harcourt.

Also at the meeting were Governors Babaji Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State and Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.

In August, Wike invited Femi Gbajabiamila, a member of the APC and speaker, House of Representatives, to inaugurate the Legislative quarters he built in Port Harcourt.

Wike’s recent meeting in London with Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate, further sparked permutation that the Rivers State governor may be hiding some things up his sleeves.

Indeed, his dalliance with the ruling party has continued to generate concerns due to the political situation in the PDP.

A pundit said: “Amaechi is just watching them with the tail of his eye. If they eventually strike a deal with Wike today, the former minister will pull a surprise. He knows a lot about Tinubu and about the APC. He is just bidding his time.”

The party chieftain, who was a former governorship aspirant of one of the states in the north, also said that the 2023 general election would be interesting in many ways, describing the entrance of Peter obi as a “development that has changed the nation’s political equation?

“As we have read the political barometer, Wike will not deliver Rivers State to PDP. So, the question is, why waste time on him? If he moves to the APC today, he cannot deliver value to the party because the Labour Party has captured the state. Even in Lagos State, Peter Obi’s Labour Party would give Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu a tough fight because of the spirit of the #EndSARS that is still alive. The election will be interesting. Wike or no Wike, PDP will not win Rivers. Where else in South-South does Wike has influence? You know what is happening between him and Edo State governor. Is it Governor Ikpeazu that will deliver Abia for PDP or Governor Ugwuanyi to deliver Enugu? We have made that calculation and come to the conclusion that we must pursue 25 percent achievement in all those states and seal our victory with the Northern votes,” he said.