“The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong in the broken places….”
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, 1929
Back in the days of Watergate, people were summoned to serve on the jury. To each potential juror, the same question was posed. Have you ever heard of Watergate, a scandal that had been on the front page of newspapers, the news, and water cooler gossip eating through the fabric of official Washington?
A scandal that was threatening to bring down the good and the bad caught in the web of official Washington. Some jurors said no, some yes. George F. Will, a Pulitzer winning Washington Post columnist, characterized it as a stunning display of candour for a group of citizens who would eventually and courageously figure out the lies and cover-ups.
Today a nation of Nigerian jurors are confronted with a malicious campaign by the political foes of our friend, the former Governor of Rivers State, and the Minister of Transportation Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (CRA) discredit and diminish him and set the stage for an imagined agenda.
This is not about advocating for the sainthood of the man or calling for his supporters to “drink his Kool- Aid” when prompted.
It is about rising up to the defence of a bare-knuckled politician who has for long been buffeted by a series of coordinated sordid moves to bring him down.
His “sin” is being born on the “other side of the rail road track,” as some see it with degenerative condescension. That side of the rail road track actually informed his style of leadership and in fact why the forgotten masses yearn for him to receive the baton of the Presidency.
As he acknowledged with humility during his declaration speech at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, he “was the young lad running around the streets of Diobu or our small compound in Ubima”. He advocates vociferously for his brethren and in the process epitomized and transformed into a straight shooter, a fierce advocate of the underprivileged and the youths who want their voice heard and a justifiable piece of the national cake.
He has declared his intention to lead this blessed country and continue the purposeful legacy of President Muhammadu Buhari. In the coming days, the animus will reach a crescendo and it’s time to right the ship, toot and continue to defend CRA’s transformative and imaginative leadership.
The fact is that man has contributed enormously to the infrastructural and human capacity development as the Minister of Transportation. The evidence is in plain sight and not a story for another day. If you care to see it, take a ride or visit the numerous land and maritime developments and voila! An epiphany. If you still can’t appreciate it, you may be a candidate for St. Elizabeth’s.
A vigorous political discourse, intellectual disagreements, civil society and all the institutional trappings that support civil liberty are in fact necessary tonic for democracy to thrive. The same institutions should, however, never be used for political hatched jobs.
Once again, we have a challenge as we did years ago. It is a kind of challenge that demands an indignant uproar from believers of this man. We must believe.
Yes, I gave him a token “T-shirt”, I said many years ago to the officer at one of the Federal Investigative Units in Abuja. I asserted I was compelled to thank the man for introducing me to his world and for affording me the chance to give back to my beloved native country. I’m sure you will accept it if offered, I suggested to the officer seated across as he watched me turn to the fifth page of my written statement.
Four hours had elapsed since the grilling interview started. “Of course, I will”, he nodded sheepishly. “Go. Your friend has done nothing wrong. “I am sorry for making you fly all the way down here from across the ocean”.
Anyone will crawl across the world on sore knees to come to the defence and support this imaginative man who already predicts “the darts and arrows” coming his way. The darts and arrows have already left the quivers and headed his way. He has the courage to stop them with the faith that has always enveloped him.
Let Nigerian jurors beware. We will figure out the lies, the cover-ups, hogwash and shenanigans and a whole lot more. CRA is destined to remain “strong at the broken places”. To amplify what he said, “ the stakes are too high. We cannot afford to fail”. It is the only country we have.
The Confident, Reliable, Advocate (CRA) of the forgotten. NAME Amaechi.
Dr. Ogu Emejuru is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He practices at Children’s Health Associates of Tidewater, Chesapeake, Virginia and an attending Physician at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, Norfolk, Virginia. He is the Publisher of nameamaechi.com