Countdown To The 59Th Birthday Of The Sage, Rt. Hon. Barr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi – Six Days To Go

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze

Preamble

TODAY, I WILL LIKE TO PRESENT THE GENESIS OF MY ENCOUNTER WITH THIS EXCEPTIONAL LEADER OF OUR TIME

Friends, associates, well-wishers and random individuals have at several times accosted me on why I have remained stocked with Rt. Hon. Barr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, notwithstanding the floodgate of mouthwatering options within my disposal.

I have at many points tried to resolve the question but the report below, an excerpt from my book titled – “Amaechi: His Feats, Inspirational and Revolutionary Leadership Style”, will go a long way towards squarely solving this issue that has generated concerns from many quarters.

THE BEGINNING OF MY UNDILUTED RELATIONSHIP WITH AMAECHI

It was the time of the infamous “K-Leg” and Amaechi had sought safety in Ghana but had kept close tabs on activities back home. His point persons were Dr. Doris Fisher and Dr. Sampson Parker. It was said that he had confided in them that he could not understand from where Prince Tonye Princewill and “this his man, Chief Eze, got their guts” for their actions. He reportedly told them that if they succeeded in unseating the PDP government he would like to involve Princewill and myself in his Administration. This was the beginning of my relationship with the principal character of this book.

Many do not yet understand that it was Dr Parker’s political calculation that birthed the relationship between Prince Tonye Princewill and Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi. Dr. Parker was among Amaechi’s retinue handling some key political transactions in Rivers State when he(Amaechi) was in self-exile in Ghana. He had directed Dr. Parker to keep a tab on us; that he could not understand the force behind our confidence in Omehia and his ill-fated administration at that time. He said if we could handle such a government knowing the volatile situation in Rivers State we were definitely a force he would like to work with if either we or he succeeded in unseating the Omehia Administration.

To date, people still consider the rationale behind Prince Tonye Princewill abandoning a case that would have made him the Governor of Rivers State, a case stronger than that which made Comrade Oshiomole, Governor of Edo State, as cloistered in mystery. The person who made it possible is no other than Dr. Parker who likes to act from behind the scenes and make noise like most others daily.

I left for Yola to see my family whom I left for over ten months. While in Yola, the Supreme Court came out with the historical judgment of 27th November 2007, declaring Amaechi as the authentic governor of Rivers State. I was asked to relocate to Port Harcourt immediately.

After a few days in Port Harcourt, I took ill and left to University College Hospital, Ibadan, for a major surgery. A day after my surgery, Prince Tonye Princewill called me to inquire about the surgery and told me that Amaechi will be hosting our team in Government House later that evening. I told him that the plaster, bandage and other materials used for the surgery were still very fresh and it would be risky to travel under that condition. He insisted that there was no way they would visit Gov. Amaechi when I was not around. So, I left Ibadan to Lagos straight to the Government House to join them.

Later, we were escorted to the Main Chamber of the Brick House and a few minutes after, Amaechi arrived. I was asked to anchor the meeting. I started by introducing most of our key members among whom were the leader of our team, Prince Tonye Princewill, his Deputy, Chief Williams Igwe, Barr. Osima Ginah, Alabo Diamond Tobin-West, the ‘Moving Train’, Hon. Suage Badey, and others. When I concluded the introduction, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, asked but who are you? “Sir, I am Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze!”, I replied. Amaechi jumped from his seat and yelled repeatedly, “GOC! GOC!! GOC!!! General Officer Commanding”. Everyone at the meeting was left in awe. It was an irony of the real GOC calling his subordinate the GOC.

I told him, “Your Excellency, your brother Tonye is a terrible fellow for forcing me out from the hospital after major surgery to attend this meeting.” It was during this meeting that the marriage between PDP and the opposition political parties in Rivers State was solemnised.

We were given two slots in the Rivers State Executive Council where Barr. Osima Ginah became the shining star as the Commissioner for Urban Development and Chief Engr. Davies Ikanya Ibiamu as the Commissioner for Special Duties. Chief Igwe Williams was given the post of Special Adviser on Political Matters while the State Chairman of the party, Hon. Suage Badey, was made a member of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology Governing Council.

Midway into his first term, Amaechi embarked on a major cabinet reshuffle. We visited him again to review our relationship with his government. Then, Dr. Ibiamu was not reappointed and it was very clear that the system had resolved to do away with him. In the course of the meeting, the Governor responded to almost all the issues we tabled before him but tactically skipped that of Ibiamu’s reappointment. He was about to leave the Chamber when all of a sudden I was prompted to passionately exclaim, “Your Excellency, Sir, you have not addressed the issue of the reappointment of Dr. Ibiamu”. The governor then responded that if we wanted Ibiamu to be reappointed, he would do so and we all chorused yes, yes, and that was how Dr. Ibiamu was reappointed, and I am still suffering that boldness in some quarters. My offence was what propelled the audacity in me to challenge what had already been concluded.

One other major encounter I had with Amaechi was when my wife was seriously sick in June 2010 and I had no fund for her treatment. I still didn’t have his mobile number so I hinted his Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Sementari, who sent a mail to him.

He called me by 8am while I was driving my wife to the hospital for further scanning to ascertain her true state of health, and asked me to come to the Government House and meet up with his ADC, Debawari, who gave me a huge envelope and directed that I should take my wife to any hospital I desired and should the fund run deficit, I should alert him accordingly.

From then onwards, his presence was felt in every issue affecting me, including the burial of my mother and brother, respectively.

One other major encounter with Amaechi was one early morning by 6am sometime in 2014. The Honourable Commissioner for Information, Mrs. Ibim Sementari, called me and said that Oga wanted to speak with me. He picked up the phone and informed me that he wanted to give me an assignment but he was afraid that Tonye Princewill or Atiku could ask me to withdraw which will result to disappointing him. I told him that I’m old enough to determine what was good or otherwise for me. He then told me that he had submitted my name as the National Publicity Secretary of the then New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) to the chagrin of most of his colleagues who questioned my capacity to handle such a sensitive office involving about seven fire-breathing governors coupled with the fact that a former governor from the East was desperate to handle the office. Amaechi stood his ground and assured them I was the only Nigerian that could make the vision and mission of the group very visible within the shortest time possible.

That was how I accepted to take up that risky and serious national assignment and by the time I rounded-off, most of my colleagues, including my National Chairman, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, the National Secretary, His Excellency, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, visited Amaechi and enquired from whence exactly he picked the man, Chief Eze. They further confirmed that nobody could have his level of audacity and that even former President Ibrahim Babangida pleaded that he should slow down.

Thereafter, I have been involved in one political issue or the other involving Amaechi and I was among the few privileged fellows, based on security challenges, to live in the Brick House for about two years before we left the Government House in 2015.

This is just a brief account of my encounter with this man of the future.

Conclusion:

Dear friends and associates, with this frank espouse, in all honesty, who would have access to these privileges made available to me by the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi and not remain eternally grateful as I am?

God forbid that I lose my sense of fair judgment and moral compass to such an extent that turn an ingrate towards my benefactor.

Those wanting me to jump ship because of the situation of things at the moment should please, with this knowledge, bury that thought. I am full of gratitude.

Thanks, as we all prepare to celebrate this special Gift to Nigeria, come 27th May 2024

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Port Harcourt-based Media Consultant & can be reached at: ezemediaconcept2020@gmail.com or 08022049770.

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