Rotimi Amaechi On My Mind By Tony Okoroji

imageLagos has practically been on fire this week. His Royal Highness Oba Rilwan Akinolu set off this wild fire. Is it true what I hear that the royal fire was fueled by the wonder drink called Orijin? See what this Guinness people have unleashed on all of us! While we are dealing with the crazy effect of this mixture, Nigerian Breweries have responded with their own concoction. They call it Ace Roots. If we are not careful, not just the Igbos but all of us in Nigeria will soon be floating on alcohol.
Without meaning to, Oba Akinolu has forced Nigerians to begin a critical debate on the rights of citizens who have settled outside their places of birth across the country. My late friend, the unforgettable Sonny Okosun, put this critical question in one of his hit songs. Repeatedly, the Oziddi king shouted, “We want to know who owns the land!” Continually, he asked: “Who owns papa’s land?!”
Truly, what rights do I have if I have spent thirty years in a part of the country, married a wife there, had all my kids in the place and paid my taxes there? The country is now having a huge debate over this and I hope that the matter is resolved to the satisfaction of most Nigerians.
I know many of my kith and kin who have sworn to teach Oba Rilwan Akiolu a political lesson. They say that after today, he will have to decide whether he wants to be the Oba of Lagos or the Oba of APC.
But Rilwan Akiolu is not a candidate in today’s election. Are we not bestowing on him far too much respect if in anger he becomes the reason why we vote for or against one of the candidates. This matter is far bigger than whether Agbaje or Ambode wins today’s election. Lagosians must vote our conscience and our interest and vote wisely because we have a big stake in the good of Lagos.
I do not know how much money has been spent on the big war between Jimmy Agbaje and Akinwunmi Ambode. It must be staggering. For months, these guys have carpet bombed the air waves and wrapped our streets in every colour of poster and banner. It is now over for their media, advertising and PR gurus.
In this winner takes all game, which side takes the trophy? How does the other group repay the debt? Ambode may survive a defeat because his side will soon own Abuja where the big cake is shared. Is that not why every monkey and every crook in the land is suddenly declaring for the APC? See me see wahala! Mass Defection!! Trust Nigerians. With or without Jonathan, they want to turn APC into PDP.
How does my guy JK pay his debt if PDP loses? Even if he wins, how does he become the Father Christmas of the many PDP big boys who are so used to feeding fat from Abuja? I honestly don’t envy the guy.
In Owerri, it will be hot. Things have changed significantly in the last two weeks. The I.G. is born again. Anyone expecting the I.G. to look the other way while policemen help one party to out-rig the other, does not know what is happening in Nigeria. The Army too has had its fingers burnt. The biggest name in town, the President elect was in Owerri a few days ago. Things have really changed. Therefore, today, it is everybody for himself. Will ‘My People, My People’ continue to hold sway in Owerri or will change come to Imo?
I must confess that I am a big admirer of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. A lot of people tell me that he is arrogant. I do not agree. I am familiar with that label. People who do not know me have also called me arrogant.
I have never said as much as ‘Good Morning’ to Governor Amaechi but I have watched him very closely. Recently, we were at the same event, sitting a few feet away from each other. A lot of people went to shake hands with him. I did not get up from my seat except to use the rest room. I am not particularly good at the hero worship of politicians.
In Rotimi Amaechi, I see the same principles that have driven much of what I have done in life – the rugged self-belief that drives a lot of people crazy. When I watch Rotimi Amaechi, I understand why some people cannot stand me despite the fact that I have done nothing to them.
When you operate on the 100% belief that once what you are doing is right, you cannot fail, you attract a lot of angst. People who cannot think as fast as you hate you. People who cannot work as hard as you, dislike you. People who were drinking pepper soup while you were making your dreams come true, snipe at you. In reality, it is sour grapes.
Once again, a big shout-out to John Momoh, my guys; Steve Judoh, Kayode Akintehimi and all the brilliant people at Channels TV for raising Nigerian journalism to a new level. Several times in the last few weeks, I have watched the fine journalists of Channels TV drill their otherwise untouchable guests. They’ve looked at their guests, eyeball to eyeball, with respect but no fear and taken them on headlong on the critical issues. No patronizing journalism.
I saw Seun Okinbaloye take on the often combative Nyesom Wike. Nothing was off limit. For me, it was journalism at its best. I also watched the Amaechi battle with Femi Fani Kayode.
Before all of these, I had followed the Amaechi battle with Celestine Omehia which went up to the Supreme Court and changed the history of Rivers State.
This guy does not start a fight without finishing it. That is why I still cannot understand why Patience Jonathan took him on. Now, Amaechi is on his way to Abuja and Patience is on her way to Otuoke. It will be intriguing to see whether PDP’s Nyesom Wike will garner 1.4 million votes today as was credited to PDP’s Goodluck Ebele Jonathan two weeks ago.
Amaechi has done his job for Buhari. How will Peterside fair today. Who will have the last laugh? I am watching Amaechi, a guy I truly admire.

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