An Open Letter To Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, Executive Governor, Rivers State
Dear Governor, I am sorry to say that I am not particularly a fan of yours; however, I am not an enemy. I’d like to maintain my distance and appreciate your good works from afar and then curse some of your bad strides, from a very safe distance, over a bottle of beer with friends, when I am exasperated. You must agree with me that life is too short to want to engage in a political debate in Nigeria.
I have heard you speak on several occasions. I have attended events where you gave lectures and speeches. You are indeed enlightened, I must compliment. But you are also troublesome, trust me. I like the latter more. Who would not? Un-troublesome people are usually puppets, especially in Nigeria. I hate to be one. I am proudly troublesome and I think we should start a league for the like-minds.
About your choice of words, in relations to your administrative job, which I’m sure also contributed to the faceoff between you and madam First Lady; remember once she spoke of your using the word “must” while dealing with her people? I think some of them jump out without preliminary refinement. I mean, you are fierce, but you should be considerate in your diction, this is not bad, for a man who studied English at the university. Creativity with words is a welcomed part of any grammarian. I am a grammarian too. *Smiles*
There was once you challenged me, yes, from a distance, of course. You said that Nigerians were too scared to want a revolution like it was in Egypt and Syria. I slept throughout the rest of your speeches that day at the Rivers State House of Assembly or so. The reason is, if one has witnessed war or bloody crisis, one would not wish for a revolution by Nigerian youths, which I am sure, would not go down without destruction of lives and properties.
I have seen some of your actions too. Most of them have been tyrannical. Some of us nicked named you “General Amaechi” due to the use of forceful terminologies and lack of adequate dialogue with certain people. Once, in a meeting, somewhere, Justice Karibi-Whyte said elders like him were not sometimes consulted in cases that may require such attention. While I don’t think it is that necessary, I think he made a point. You are a good man with a good heart. I have read and followed your vision statement for the Rivers people. I am a Rivers indigene too, someone who may be more of a critique than a praise singer. I have also seen all your adversaries in their colourful attires. They are miserable people, trust me. They have no substance. Quite a lot of them have led in Nigeria. They failed, dramatically. I would rather go to bed and fart heartily than vote any of them into any office in Nigeria again. However, I would not vote you either, I think you have some bad friends, especially from the north and those who wield mace. I would prefer a fresh face, someone who has done something outstanding with proven records, without desperate godfathers.
There was once you suspended some Local Government Chairmen in Rivers State for coming late to a council meeting. I wonder how it worked in a democracy, without going through the state assembly. For sanity sake, these men were duly elected into their various offices! And the chickens could not speak out. Sad tale!
I was born in the late 80s in Port Harcourt to Ogoni parents. I think my parents offended someone or some ancestors somewhere. We were so poor I currently feel uneasy writing about it. I’ve learned not to talk much about myself until I hit the Forbes’ list. I attended the famous State Primary School, Orogbum, in D-Line, Port Harcourt. I cannot forget my first day at school. I cried, wanting to follow my mother home. When I was finally enticed with something I cannot recall, the classroom was such that had makeshift desks. These improvised chairs where remnant of what had once existed as desks. The top part served as mat. Each pupil had a piece. The unlucky people like me had none. It was as flat as the slate I had once used in a village school. I struggled through primary school in the city with this inhumane system of education. I recall when I advanced in classes we were asked to come to school with chalks. Don’t ask me what the ministry in charge of education did. I wish to save words here. We, also, were made to paint our blackboards, this we did with charcoal which would be ground and mixed with water from home. Nothing worked. In my secondary school, my final examination was written under leaking roof. When it rained, we avoided the portion where it was torrential and struggled to hear from the teacher who was also not safe from where he stood.
Things have changed. I must say primary education in Rivers State has changed ground. I see the facilities in the schools and I wish I could go back to being a pupil. Once in those days, I had wanted to use the toilet. When I opened the door, the lords of manmade ridges I beheld, heaped in very scattered positions made me hold whatever it was that pressed me during school until I was home.
My youngest brother returned home yesterday with his result sheet. It was a good result. He had had a pair of sandals when he was registered. He had uniforms and books, something I never had. He came third in his class. He had come 2nd in the first term at school. I am proud of his 5year old head. While I may frown at certain projects that, maybe, were awarded to the wrong hands or were not properly executed, I am very pleased with the primary and post primary educational system in Rivers State. The system is such that gives hope. Sometimes I wonder what our past leaders did with the so-called ministry of education. If they had done a bit of what you did, maybe something could have been different. Maybe the state would have had more men with conscience to muscles. Education is a very great gift. When it is given in a wonderful environment, it is priceless. I visited one of the model primary schools, the teachers who I spoke with sounded like they were carefully selected to deliver quality education. They were not fighting with their tenses or struggling to pronounce words that were supposed to be used in a sentence to address me, a guardian. I think Rivers State is a step ahead because of the focus of Primary Education. I appreciate.
Nwilo Bura-Bari Vincent,