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‘You Can Simply Wake Up And Become Minister’: Amaechi Advises Against Fleeing Nigeria

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Former Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has urged Nigerians not to flee the country in what has come to be known as ‘japa’ syndrome, stressing that there are abundant opportunities in the country.

Speaking on the ARISE NEWS Channel programme, Perspective on Saturday, the former governor of Rivers State, however, noted Nigerians have the kind of leaders they voted for.

Amaechi, who was a guest on the programme to answer questions on ‘Life After Office,’ said he had always discouraged people from fleeing the country, adding that there are a lot of opportunities in Nigeria.

“I have always discouraged those who want to leave the country. You can always get 9a.m. to 5p.m. jobs when you leave the country but you can never get the kind of opportunity you get in Nigeria. You can just wake up and you can become a governor or a minister in Nigeria,” Amaechi explained.

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Speaking on the quality of leadership in the country, Amaechi said: “Nigerians get what they want, what they deserve. You don’t complain after. You don’t. Nigerians at all times have had opportunities to vote. So, whatever you voted for is what you deserved. But, let’s not go into politics.”

On the legacies he left behind in the past 25 years of being in politics, Amaechi cited the construction of the Lekki Deep Sea Port, and the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja/Kaduna railway lines, among others. “Another thing that is interesting to me is the railway and I’m happy that the Lagos-Ibadan and Abuja-Kaduna railways are still operating. These and others are legacies that I would like to watch,” he added.

Amaechi said after leaving office he focused his energy on education and enrolled in several degree programmes in Law at the same time.

Asked to advise the Nigerian youths, he said: “I will ask young Nigerians to look at my situation. I was born into a poor family. My father was a dispensing pharmacist; he found it difficult to train me and my siblings. I was lucky to be trained but my siblings were not able to go to university; anybody that went to university after me was trained by me. Some of them are working; some are not working. You just have to struggle. The elite would not want you to join the elite class. But you just have to push and continue to push until you push yourself to be part of the elite.”

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Amaechi explained that the crime rate is high in Nigeria because the economy is too small and not able to absorb everybody.

On what he did after leaving office, he said: “I enrolled at the Nigerian Law School. At the same time, I got registered in King’s College for my master’s degree in Law.“Again, I was doing a first degree course in Law at the University of London. I did my last exams last year in October and you will be shocked to know that I failed two courses.

“Out of five courses, I failed two because I was combining the Nigerian Law School; I was also doing a Master’s Degree in Corporate and Company Law, and I was doing an LL.D programme at the University of London. So, because of the multiplicity of academic work, I had to fail two courses in the LL.D programme.”

On life after office, he said: “I have a huge number of friends that if the politicians go, I have other friends at all times. I am not such a protocol person; so, while in office, I was like every other Nigerian.

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“However, law school enabled me to have a lot of young friends in their 18s, and 20s; so, if some of my friends are not calling me again there is nothing to worry about, I will just focus on my achievements and the things I set out to do before becoming a minister and the legacies I left in Port Harcourt.“I do rest, I have a lot of time to sleep and time for my poor wife who has not had the opportunity of seeing me as often as she should since when she got married to me. Soon after we got married, by 1999 I had become the Speaker, and from then only God knows what has happened. From speaker to governor and from governor to minister and director general of campaign of the last government twice.

“These are huge responsibilities that got my family almost seeing me as an absentee husband. My wife is such a wonderful manager, managing me, managing my responsibilities, managing the children, and helping to keep my responsibilities to the children so that they wouldn’t see me as an uncle.On whether he would run for political office again, he simply answered: “No comment”.

He said the difference between him and most Nigerian elite is that he says things the way he sees them.

“I say it the way it is. I will tell you the truth even if you put a gun on my head. I wanted to go to heaven; so, I tried to tell the truth at all times. I choose to be honest all my life, “he added.

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