The Matyrdom Of Rotimi Amaechi, By Ose Oyamendan

Ose Oyamendan

In the murky waters of Nigerian politics, it’s not everyday that the media and the garrison commanders of the political fiefdom combine to shove you towards political martyrdom. But, it’s also not everyday a man with the name Rotimi Amaechi strolls into the center of the nation’s consciousness.

People think President Goodluck Jonathan has a great story. But I bet Rotimi Amaechi had soles in his shoes when he was a kid which means, his feet like that of the president did kiss the floor of the Niger Delta at some point so, I’m now not too impressed. The president may have been an accidental leader but so was General Olusegun Obasanjo and his brother coup plotters. But, try going from the couch to the mansion. Now, that’s something and that’s all Amaechi.

His story has all the elements of a blockbuster movie. Since I’m sitting in a café where I can just see the Hollywood sign, I’m thinking of Amaechi as a political movie. I can hear the trailer now.

“In a world where politicians kill themselves to become King, he became governor without even running. On a continent where leaders sell poverty stories, he sells oil wells. In a country where you kiss butt to rise to the top, he’s right at the top with two butt cheeks for the two sides of the political divide. You think you have him in a corner then you realize you’re at the wrong corner. His subjects calls him “the governor”, his fellow governors call him “my chairman”. He is Rotimi Amaechi, the chairman-governor”

You think the president has a miraculous rise to the top, try Amaechi. One minute he’s sitting on his couch and contemplating life as an unemployed politician and the next minute, the Supreme Court is calling to tell him he’s the governor of an oil-rich state. Jonathan was the deputy of an ailing president in a country where the constitution said he’s a heartbeat away from the throne. Amaechi was close to the ignominy of being ruled by a governor with a name that sounds like a woman’s name in a country that doesn’t elect female governors. Try that for a miracle!

I am in awe of Amaechi. I’ve tried to see him for three years just to see what makes him thick. But, there’s this little thing called the Atlantic Ocean.

I would have likened Ameachi to the beautiful bride of Nigerian politics but I’m in California. In a world where people think sex before politics, that would create uncomfortable images.

Do you say the groom is Jonathan or would it be the duo of Tinubu and Buhari. The later would be weird because how do you classify that – a political threesome or polyandry? This is when my beloved uncle would say, “I know no book O”.

Amaechi seems to be playing his cards really well. The head of the northern governors dines with him. The opposition governors roll with him. The first lady refuses to pick a bone with him. The president wraps him up in hug like a prickly fruit.  The president’s attack dogs are not baring all their fangs. Even Lai Mohammed, a man adept at screaming fire when his lord belches is drafting press releases defending Amaechi. No man has ever had it this well since two scantily clad beauty queens showed up in a fat man’s bedroom and started singing Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long”.

All of this makes me sad for  Jonah Jang, a man struggling to rule his own state, was promised a saucy carrot but now realizes it’s really poison. Every time I see the man he looks like he has a stomachache. And, the guys around him look like they’re in on a joke that only Jang is unaware of.  I tried thinking of a movie trailer for Jang and I had a headache.

Someone needs to find who put Jang in this mess and drag that person to the United Nations. If there was ever anything that qualifies as “inhumanity against man” this is it. Take for example the picture from the last Jang-NGF meeting. It’s a picture that broke my heart and made me realize Nigerians are a bunch of rumourmongers.

These were the princes of Nigeria, or sixteen of them and they couldn’t even afford romaine salad. They had salad you get in a Mexican dive bar. And, there were three apples to every four governors! To make matters worse, it looked like they were meeting in the conference room in some motel where you go to lunch with your busty secretary. Never had so many powerful people met in such a tight room since Hitler met his assistants in a bunker.

At least the Amaechi camp is a little sleek. They drive fine cars, don’t look like teachers listening to the headmaster, can do a simple arithmetic and have Lai Mohammed cooking up all sorts of assassination threats.

You wonder what the next step would be for Amaechi. Would he go from being a near-martyr of the living variety to glory or would he just find his way back into the filthy mud some of his colleagues swim in? Or, to put it in a way my mother would understand? Would he go from dealing with a leader who sometimes talk to you or go to the leader that texts you your opinion every morning?

Follow me @iam_ose

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