By Ikeckukwu Nwigbo
In many ways, it is good that the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amechi, should be all over the place suddenly proclaiming his Igbo ancestry. First, it confirms that all Nigerians understand that zoning the presidency to the Igbos for 2023 is inevitable. As part of this Administration, Rotimi Amaechi is in a good position to see the direction that wind is blowing. Secondly, it shows that there is nothing bad after all with identifying with the Igbos. It further shows that Amechi was wrong all these years he denied every association with the Igbos and acted as if being an Igbo was a curse.
Every Nigerian indeed can claim to be an Igbo. After all, the Igbos are friendly people. They are ever willing to reach out far beyond their ancestral homes to embrace other people and become at home in far away places. Also the Igbos have endured adversity, exclusion and injustice in Nigeria. It is totally understandable that anybody of goodwill will eventually identify with the Igbos, and that those stricken by sense of guilt for denying the Igbos in the past, someone like the Minister of Transport, may try to redeem his conscience by proclaiming himself an Igboman. So, the first impulse should be for the Igbos to welcome Rotimi Amechi with open arms as an honorary Igbo man.
The main thing quite troubling about Amechi’s newly discovered Igbo ancestry is that he seems insincere about it. He seems to have assumed an Igbo identity just in order to pose as an Igbo man to qualify to run for the President of Nigeria come 2023. The concern is: what happens to his assumed Igboness after the election is over? Will the metamorphosis continue or will he return to his original position where being an Igbo man seemed an anathema?
It will not be necessary for anyone to bother to tell the Honourable Minister that he cannot possible claim to be an Igbo man after years of denying the Igbos. It is not good to deny a person that wants to become your kinsman. Allow him. After all, the Igbos say: “Nwanne di n’mba”, which translates in this context to the idea that an Igbo brother need not be Igbo by blood. He can be an Igbo by association, though, unfortunately, Anwechi did not associate with the Igbos when it would have been of any help to the Igbos.
There seems to be something else quite sinister about Amechi’s claims of Igbo ancestry. He seems to have assumed that once a politician successfully declares himself an Igbo man, the Igbos will blindly cheer him to Aso Rock. Far from such assumption. Instead, the Igbos do fully realize the significance of the first Igbo presidency in 55 years. They will want that office to mean something serious. That opportunity will not be squandered on a man, who as a minister is presently mortgaging the future of Nigerians to unscrupulous Chinese loan terms and conditions. Amechi as a president will mortgage every drop of the blood of every Nigerian to the Chinese. Based on his recent record, what the Igbos are expected to say to Amwchi is: “thanks but no thanks”.
Also, Nigerians cannot forget easily the political violence and instability and disruptions that Amechi unleashed upon his home state of Rivers, using the military and the police during the last election. And he still lost every office he could have contested for. Amechi has not been able to win an election directly or indirectly in Rivers State since the lucky supreme court break that made him the Governor of Rivers State.. He can only be in office by appointment. Unfortunately for him, the office of the president is not by appointment. It is the most important political office in Nigeria. It should be for people who have the interest of Nigerians at heart, and not for jokers and opportunists.