Abuja—Former governor of Rivers State and immediate past Minister of Transpiration, Rotimi Amaechi, has regretted that governance in Nigeria has been very bad.
He attributed the development to a lack of accountability, saying people in positions of authority have been allowed to operate at will without being held accountable for their negative actions.
The chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) spoke in Abuja at a fundraising dinner of the Bauchi State APC governorship candidate and former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Sadique Abubakar, rtd.
Amaechi said people who preside over their states as governors without pilfering the treasuries of their states do it because of self-discipline and determination to enthrone good leadership and not because they feel they are being checked somewhere by anybody.
He described Abubakar, who is the immediate past Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Chad as a fine retired public officer, who he had known when the latter was a commander of the Nigerian Air Force unit in Rivers State at the time he held sway as governor of the state.
According to him, both Sadique Abubakar and Lt. General Tukur Buratai,rtd, former Chief of Army Staff, who was also then Brigade Commander of the Nigerian Army, never approached him for money until they left the state, because according to him, “people lobby to be posted to Rivers State to make money.”
He said: ”Sadique was the commander of the Nigerian Air Force in Rivers State. General Buratai was also the Brigade Commander at the time.
“I wish that Nigerians were like you because I was not under any pressure from you to give you money until you left and I was surprised at that because the reason why Nigerians come to Rivers State is to collect money. When it’s time for postings, they lobby to be posted there, because they want to get money. And if you remember, that was at the height of fighting criminals.
“So while Nigerians were saying that Amaechi was a no-nonsense governor, they didn’t know that it was you people (Sadique and Buratai) that made me the no-nonsense governor.
“Today, I ask you, the people from Bauchi to think twice about governance in Nigeria, it’s been very bad. The reason why it’s bad is that we vote for people who don’t know what governorship is all about.
“You vote for people who see governorship as employment, who go there to make money. And unfortunately for all of you, people are not held accountable for what they do.
“And the worse is that Nigerians don’t care to hold people accountable for what they do.
“So if you are voted in as governor, then it is your discipline that determines how you behave not because anybody will check you or not because anybody will punish you.
“If you like, go to Bauchi State and take everything, nobody will ask you. In fact, Nigerians will come to your house and dance for you. So vote for anybody who is disciplined enough to leave your money at Bauchi State Government House, since there is no way to check anybody.
“The best thing to do is to vote for anybody who has the fear of God, who is contented with providing you with service, who thinks that the public office he holds is for the people, who understands that if there are no people, he would not govern. Think back.”
The former transport minister recalled that “In the past, rich men used to go home and people gather to dance for you and eat your food. Now, nobody gathers to eat your food, they want to eat you because you have eaten enough and nothing is remaining. So sit back and vote for the person that will recover your state.”
Amaechi, while bemoaning governance in the country, said the country should be reset, fall back to governance experienced in the 1970s, which he noted, made people safe, education available for people cost of living affordable for all.
“If we don’t want to progress, let us go back to the 1970s. Vote for that governor that if he can’t take you forward, let him take you back to 1970. In the 1970s, there was no free education but there were schools. There was power. It was safe, you could drive anywhere, and you could drive from Port-Harcourt to Bauchi.
“You could leave Port-Harcourt by 10 pm and get to Bauchi by 8 am and nothing would happen to you. Try driving from here to Nyanya now and see what will happen to you. So, God has provided us with somebody and that person is Sadique Abubakar.
“Don’t vote where you will regret again because that is what Nigerians don’t know. They will provide you with money you don’t know it’s your own and you will collect and still vote for them and then two months after, you start regretting it.
“The problem with Nigerians is that if they come back a day to election and provide you with money, you will forget what you have gone through in the past four years and vote for them again.
“So here, you have two responsibilities, the first responsibility is not that of prayer yet, leave a prayer for people like us, it’s that of asking questions. Ask those that want to run for the governorship of Bauchi,’ show me what you have done.’ Hold your leaders accountable.
“Ask that politician that was two years ago, driving and pushing Mercedes Benz and now bought his Jeep how he gets the Jeep. Ask that question in Bauchi and you will vote for Sadique because he has good character and I can endorse that. Hold me responsible if he fails,” he stated.