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Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi: Minister of the Decade

By Eddy Odivwri

I am not sure those who win
awards go about their tasks with the object of winning such awards, ab initio.

The awards thus come as Value
Added incentives, to serve as tonic to do even more. That may have been the
summation for Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation,
who recently bagged the Minister of the Decade award, by THISDAY Newspaper to
mark its 25th anniversary.

Amaechi is certainly not new to
awards. He has a very large collection of them, right from his days as Speaker
of the Rivers State House of Assembly, through his governorship days in Rivers
State government and now as Minister of the Federal Republic.

Several names had featured at
nomination stages, and for the management (Board of Editors) of the newspaper
house to have finally settled for Amaechi bespeaks of just one thing:

No matter what people will say,
Amaechi has come to be the poster boy of the President Buhari administration,
what with his deep devotion to driving the railway project of the country.
Never before has any minister shown that degree of commitment to public task.

He drives himself to all project
sites, no matter how far and rough the paths may be. Once, he plunged his
personal car into a shallow pond which was an obstacle to the continued
inspection of the project.
Although he managed to wangle his way through the
muddy pool, he lost the engine of the car eventually.

Those who have followed the
zealotry of Amaechi in driving the railway construction work of the present
government will shudder at the incredible energy he has shown and continue to
show in over seeing every inch of the work. 
He remains a challenge to the physical
fitness of even younger engineers and ministry staff who often accompany him on
such inspections.

With a monthly inspection of the
rail project, Amaechi has proven beyond any string of doubt that when he is
committed to anything, he gives it his all. That indeed earned him all the
applause and accolades while he served as governor of Rivers State. 
The stories
were told of how he undertook project inspections between 2.00am and 5.00am on
such days, so he will have no distraction.

Perhaps one even needs double
strength, wisdom and tenacity in dealing with the Chinese, who, several times,
had appeared to have dribbled Amaechi both on speed of work and on timeous
delivery of project landmarks.

Listen to Amaechi discuss railway
project and you will shudder how a rugged politician speaks with so much
knowledge of a technical task. His use of the right jargons, understanding the
dynamics of the task and complexity of the project will shock you. Surely, he
throws his all into it.

Perhaps only Mr Babatunde Raji
Fashola, current Minister of Works approximates the field appearances of
Amaechi. And for Amaechi, the results are there, getting clearer and clearer.

Beside the rail construction,
Amaechi is almost as deeply devoted to the development of the maritime sector.

Until the recent appointment of a
minister of State, Senator Gbemi Saraki, who oversees the maritime sector,
Amaechi has shown great capacity in managing the affairs of the ministry.

Those in the maritime sector are
also full of praise for the innovations and the adroitness he has shown in the
management of the sector. His recent promise to release the cabotage funds held
by government all the while, will further up the ante of his rating in the

It is remarkable that the other
winner of the Minister of the Decade award, Dr Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is
someone who had also shone brightly as a great servant of the people, while she
served as Minister of Finance under President Olusegun Obasanjo and some part
of President Jonathan’s tenure.

She came to office with panache
and left with a prized medal. Earlier this week, the Harvard University named
her as the next Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow, amongst the many
other awards she had also won in the past.

All said, Amaechi’s winning of
the THISDAY laurel speaks to his commitment to service. I join others to thus
deservedly congratulate him.

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