By Ogaba Ogomola
The elections are around the corner, and it is expected that the polity would be heated with scheming and horse-trading, all in a bid to gain popularity or achieve electoral success. I am not against politics. But I am against the politics of blackmail and character assassination that has characterized the polity recently.
I stumbled on news items on the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Ameachi, in one of the dailies. It was every inch a despicable report by the news medium. The headline gave out the story as a hatchet job. However, while I do not have issues with the news medium attempting to sell their paper, I have an issue with how editorial competence was damaged irrepressibly.
As a start, the news item was neither here nor there. It was such an editorial piece that again brought out the rot in the media industry. And the news medium, Aljazirah, has been notorious in this regard on several occasions. I gathered that the staying power of Aljizirah is blackmail. I also learned that the promoters of the medium have been able to sustain their operations thus far through this strategy.
The story of Rotimi Ameachi indicates that those uncomfortable with his perceived presidential ambition are at work. What is more worrying is that there hasn’t been any public pronouncement in this regard. I can guess that the strides recorded in the Transport ministry under his watch might be the reason why some political hawks are out to dent his image and discredit him at all cost. This is a no brainer.
It might also be that Rotimi Ameachi had stepped on some powerful toes in the discharge of his duties, and those affected are out to “serve justice” to him through the instrument of blackmail and character assassination. But the strategy is ill-conceived because of how Rotimi Ameachi has stood out as one of the shining stars of this present administration.
The revolution in rail infrastructure across the country is indeed intimidating. The transformation on our waterways is another laudable leadership stride of Rotimi Ameachi, and many more too numerous to mention.
I want to ask if it is now a crime for Nigerians to be patriotic? In my opinion, the likes of Rotimi Ameachi should not be one of those that should be maligned because of how they have displayed great character and strength in service to the country. I dare say he is one of those who are not afraid to speak power to the truth. He is also one of those that have strived to be as committed as possible to the cause of national interest.
You might not like his methodology, but you can’t question his competence and sincerity of purpose. You can’t also fault the policies introduced and implemented in the transport ministry since he assumed leadership. You can’t also discredit the fact that the transportation sector of the economy has been sanitized with leakages blocked and huge revenue accrued to the government over the years.
I believe the attack on Rotimi Ameachi is from several fronts. From his home state, where he is a stakeholder, to the APC, where he seems to have gained the confidence of Mr President, and from those cartels that have fed fat from the rot in the transport sector in the country. Suppose the attempt to discredit Rotimi Ameachi comes from any of these fronts. In that case, it is understandable because there is always a price to pay, and the price for patriotism is usually heavy, especially in a clime like ours.
I have systematically avoided the rumoured presidential ambition as the sole reason for defaming Rotimi Ameachi because I do not have factual information in this regard, but let us assume he is interested in contesting the presidency; I think it won’t be out of place.
Rotimi Ameachi is a brave heart. This is a fact. And if this rumoured presidential aspiration is behind the ploy to discredit him, I would encourage him to take a shot at it because he is eminently qualified, for he has recorded tremendous strides as a minister of the federal republic and also his previous record as the executive governor of Rivers state indeed tell a lot about the man Rotimi Ameachi and why his perceived presidential aspiration should unsettle some persons.
Therefore, I am not surprised because it’s that period again where those perceived as threats are blackmailed into submission. But I can vouch for Rotimi Ameachi as not one in that class that can be blackmailed into submission. Not even if the whole media space is saturated with stories about him. Yes, he is that brave and one of the criteria we need in a president.
Those that are after him must also contend with some issues; they must try hard to sustain their massage of mischief. They must also strive hard to dig deep into the hole to find incriminating evidence against him, but with a caveat; they should be careful not to fall into the hole when searching deeper.
Those after him should also be ready for him because, from antecedents, he does not suffer fools gladly. Should Rotimi Ameachi indicate interest in the presidency, the odds might be against him on the pages of Aljazirah but not among the generality of Nigerians.
Ogomola wrote this piece from