As soon as he assumed office as governor in 2007, Rotimi Amaechi immediately set about establishing his credentials as an uncommon political leader – one who was determined to make a tangible difference in the lives of his people through visions, tenacity and a stubborn will. “ -Chidi Amuta. Subsequently, this ‘Stubborn will’ ignited the urge for 15 like minds with eagle eye on pen, to come together with the aim of critically reviewing the tenacity and simplicity of a biblical Moses of our time whose wills even though smirked and seldom debunked, undauntedly pursued a cause that humanity will grudgingly accept or reject.
The book, ‘Dynamics of Change, the Amaechi Years’ which will be officially presented to the public tomorrow Thursday 14th May, at the Civic Centre, Lagos, will be chaired by Hon. Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte with eminent guests, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah as the book reviewer amongst others. Literary icon and Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, who wrote the forward in the book will be a cynosure while presenting the keynote address. Prof. Soyinka, a long time friend of Ameachi took time off his seemingly tight schedule to write a very thought provoking and incisive forward which becomes an affirmation of what this book stands for, a veritable testimony to its import in the evolving political history of Nigeria.
Highlighting the tyranny of courage, Soyinka in his usual metaphorical style, drew some points referencing on Amaechi’s doggedness and resilient approach to politics by using David and Goliath tales. It is a thorough assessment of this man-mover who has distinguished himself through selfless services to humanity, unleashing that progressive dynamism that rolls with wind of change in Nigeria. Compiled and edited by Chidi Amuta and Yemi Ogunbiyi, two heavyweights in the pen profession, the book tends to bring to limelight, the vivid pictorials and in concise texts, the figure behind the scene. Amaechi needs no introduction.
His uncommon agenda, rightly or wrongly diagnosed still impacts his people in visible ways. The book with 277 pages in a 26cm x 25cm custom sized hard cover laced with pullover jacket containing the authors’ mini bios, is published by Bookcraft, 2015, . The contents are compilation of 15 eminent personalities who have distinguished themselves in their profession, pulled together materials observed to have changed developmental wave in Rivers State into 14 chapters ranging from the beginning; creation of Rivers State and all the intrigues of politics that saw the emergence of this iconic politician.Dynamics This is a prelude to chapter 2 that talks about his early life, the humble beginning and facts about adoption of the name ‘Rotimi’ which stems from his father’s encounter with late erudite lawyer, Chief Frederick Rotimi Williams (SAN). Interesting! Perhaps the turning point starts from chapter 3 ‘The Mandate, the Mission’. Here the quote tells more: “It is crucial to understand that as a society we can reorganise socially, politically and economically according to our values.”
The intrigues and struggles that saw him to power are clear indications of die-hard activist whose quest to liberate mankind is supreme in his mind. Other chapters talk more on his visionary agenda such as restoring law and order, education, urban recovery, health and agriculture, good governance, leadership challenges and envisioned transformation. The chapter that magnates my searchlight binocular is chapter 10, ‘The vision for economic empowerment’. Quoting from the chapter, ‘Our focus is to use our God-given resources to improve the quality of life of our present and future generation’, this chapter written by Ilera Chessa, self reliance and less dependence of federal purse are the key thing. Here, Gov. Amaechi anchored empowerment vision under five pillars; manpower development, improving business environment, investing in physical and social infrastructure, expanding financial accessibility and focus on labour intensive sectors.
According to the author, Rivers State has a sizeable economy with a GDP of US$21 billion in 2005, termed as the second largest in Nigeria after Lagos State. It is significant to note here that when many states lament over non availability of fund even to pay salaries, thus, criss-crossing Abuja for assistance, much energy should be channelled to self reliance to improve the economy of their states. The climax here is the last chapter by Chidi Amuta entitled: ‘The Rivers Ahead: Contemplating the post Amaechi Years.’ To consolidate this lofty vision and hitherto achievements, there must be a sustainable and adequate maintenance of existing structures. Here, Amuta highlighted needs to keep security challenges in check while completing his huge projects like the monorail and urban housing projects, perhaps, trail the giant strides of his government.