By Eric Elezuo
When you are described as a leader with result-oriented leadership style, and one whose leadership style has positively reflected on the people by your boss, who is the number citizen of the country, there’s hardly any contradiction. It means you have accomplished a God given objective. It means your words can be taken to the bank, and that is the nature and credential of the honorable Minister if Transport, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who just celebrated his 55 years birthday.
Born on May 27, 1965 in Ubima, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State to the family of the late Elder Fidelis and Mary Amaechi, the young Chibuike had his early education at St Theresa’s Primary School between 1970 and 1976 before proceeding to Government Secondary School Okolobiri, where he obtained his West African Senior School Certificate in 1982. He was subsequently admitted into the University of Port Harcourt, and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelors of Arts degree (Honours) in English Studies and Literature. He political sagacity was nurtured while in the university, and he rose to become the President of the National Union of Rivers State Students (NURSS).
Upon graduation, Amaechi completed the mandatory National Youth Service Corps in 1988, and kick started his career almost immediately when he joined Pamo Clinics and Hospitals Limited owned by Peter Odili, where he worked until 1992. It was at this stage that he earned the trust of Mr Odili with his loyalty, diligence and commitment. It was not a surprise that he found himself in the corridors of politics as political events began to unfold, under the tutelage of Peter Odili. He was later to emerge Speaker of the rivers state house of Assembly while Odili was the state governor, and both enjoyed the best of relationships.
Amaechi cut his teeth in politics when he secured the position of the Secretary of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC) in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. He grew in leaps and bounds thereafter, and between 1992 and 1994, was considered as Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili. And during the transition programme of General Sani Abacha 1996, he became the Rivers State’s Secretary of the Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN) caretaker committee.
As civil rule returned in 1999, signaling the beginning of the 4th Republic, he contested and won a seat to become a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly to represent his Ikwere constituency.
His accumulated experience in grassroots politics and the corporate place him a position of supposed cetris paribus, and he was effortlessly elected as the Speaker of the House of Assembly. He went on to become the Chairman of Nigeria’s Conference of Speakers of State Assemblies. He was reelected into the State House of Assembly in May 2003 and was also re-elected as the Speaker.
A man of peace, Amaechi is known to use the instrumentality of the judiciary to fight his battles. In 2003 when the National Assembly moved to hijack the legislative functions of the State house of Assembly as enshrined in the constitution, he went to the Supreme Court and got a verdict stipulating that the control and supervision of local government is the prerogative of the State House of Assembly.
In 2007, he contested and won the Peoples Democratic Party Rivers State Governorship primary, but his name was substituted by the party. Again, like a man of peace, he went to court, and won. He became governor on October 26, 2007, without campaigning or standing for election. He was re-elected for a second term of four years in April 2011.
On November 27, 2013, he defected to the All Progressives Congress, and was the Campaign Director for General Muhammadu Buhari at the prelude to the 2015 election, and after the victory, he was appointed the Minister of Transportation, a position he holds till date, almost five years after.
In 2019, he was found worthy to again head re-election campaign of Buhari. He succeeded, and was re-appointed Minister for Transport.
Amaechi’s eight years as the Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly saw the best of harmonious relationship between the legislature and judiciary, paving the way for wholesome development of the state.
As governor for two terms, his administration invested in infrastructure development, construction of roads and bridges, sticking to the vision of connecting all parts of the state by road. He was also committed to urban renewal and modernization of transportation services.
It is on record that he began building a monorail to provide mass transportation within the city of Port Harcourt, and some power plant projects such as Afam, Trans Amadi, Onne to improve power supply in the State.
A splendid husband and a wonderful father, Amaechi is married to Judith, and they are blessed with three boys.
Among many of the honours the first Minister to hold sway at the Transport ministry twice has been bestowed with, is the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and Knight of St. Johns.
He also a director of several companies, including West Africa Glass Industry Limited and Risonpalm Nigeria Limited.
Describing his personality, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has this to say:
“Amaechi’s key leadership quality is his sense of inclusion, he likes to bring everyone on board, he loves teamwork, he empowers people to put in their best, he doesn’t pretend to know it all or try to do everything.
“He is one of the few politicians from the Niger Delta that is Pan Nigeria.
“I think in the history of Nigeria there hasn’t been any Minister of Transportation that has been able to achieve the landmark Amaechi has achieved in very difficult circumstances.
“I am very proud of you, am very proud to be associated with you, I am a beneficiary of your friendship, your love and your generosity.
“You have helped me a lot in my campaign, you have raised money for me, you have given me ideas on how to be a better politician and I have learnt a lot from you.
“I am confident that if and when Nigeria is looking for a leader that will take us to a higher level, you will be up there on the frontline among those that will be counted.”
The Boss wishes you a happy birthday…Congratulations sir!