By Olawale Olaleye
For anyone currently holding one political office or the other – elected or appointed – there’s a general submission that seems to capture the mood of the nation and it is the fact that working with President Muhammadu Buhari is a “burden” that’s ultimately questioning everyone’s credibility. The state of the nation is foreboding, no doubt, and the situation generally presents a picture of utter helplessness.
Disappointing and heartbreaking as the Buhari administration has turned out six years in office, a few individuals in the government, albeit not more than five of them (if a rough check is done), have continued to offer some semblance of hope and a reason to smile, by counterbalancing the enveloping frustrations.
One of such persons is the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, who despite the overwhelming carnage that’s daily recorded in different parts of the country and in different strata of the system, has remained committed and undistracted from his primary beat, which expectedly has also made Amaechi one of the poster kids of the Buhari administration.
Apart from leveraging the opportunity to serve, inspired by the need to leave his name in bold and beautiful prints, especially, that the verdict by posterity is inevitable, Amaechi also has a responsibility to do his best possible and leave office without blemish – for self, family and friends.
As a major arrowhead in the movement that eventually actualised the Buhari presidency, Amaechi is not oblivious of the burden this might have become over time and as such, would leave no stone unturned in making sure he discharges the responsibility assigned him with alacrity.
Motivated largely by sound ideas and the desire to change the narrative, Amaechi has since taking over at the transportation ministry, shown that one can actually break forth in any given responsibility for as long as there’s commitment and dedication to such assignments.
With a population of over 200 million people in consideration, Amaechi knew from the get-go that the ministry assigned to him is a critical one, and which speaks significantly to the prospects of the nation’s economy. With an effective transportation network, he was convinced the economy was just steps away from breaking through.
He knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But as a former governor of a rather tough Rivers State – posting huge success at after eight years in office – Amaechi isn’t one to run away from challenges. Indeed, challenges excite him. What’s even going for him the more is the fact that he’s a “details person”. He likes perfection and would never collaspse under the heat of pressure.
Combined, this made his work in the Transportation Ministry an easy kick. From completing the rail projects of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to initiating new ones, his ministry has since remained one huge construction site, the same way he made Rivers an enviable construction town at the time he held sway as governor.
Today, it is not by sheer luck or accident that the rail transportation is a big deal in many parts of the country. Even more, is that haulage via the railway transportation has been knocked back to reckoning through the dint of Amaechi’s hard work. People now take leisure trips by train to different parts of the country with such excitement that can only earn the minister prayers. It’s cheap, safer and saves time.
Leave the railway sector and peep into the many agencies and parastatals under his ministry, then, you would know that result is only a function of leadership, commitment, dedication and hard work, which he has continued to offer, even with a lot of personal sacrifices.
From the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Nigerian Institute of Transport Technology (NITT) and Maritme Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Amaechi has shown capacity, innovation and leadership in a way that leaves no one in doubt about his competence in any way.
How do you even place him? Amaechi is brilliant and smart. He is a dogged fighter for a just cause. He gives attention to details without sentiments. He is compassionate about the Nigerian project and believes in her future. He is kind and generous. He is very hardworking and dedicated. And when committed to a cause, he always goes all out, not minding what it would cost him to attain result. He may be stubborn, although on principle, he knows when to bend and relax the rules in larger and collective interest.
While verdicts on performance assessment could vary from person to person, Amaechi is one of such candidates, who would not be scored below average by anyone marking his scripts. His works are evidenced by physical results, the reason it’s difficult for everyone, his political foes alike, to undermark him, because the physical evidence states otherwise.
Therefore, on this occasion of his 56th birthday, the only way to acknowledge one of the few individuals doing their best at such a critical time in the nation’s history is by appreciating them and their struggle to change the otherwise poor narrative.
For the things you have done for your country, the ones you’re doing now and the ones posterity is yet to assess you for, there’s a reason to smile at 56. And for all it is worth, everyone, who appreciates your “little contribution” to the Nigerian project would not but celebrate you on this day.
Happy 56th birthday, the LION, and many happy returns!