One of the worst-kept secrets in Nigerian politics in recent times came to the fore on Saturday as Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi formally announced his intention to contest for Nigeria’s Presidency in 2023.
The minister made his intentions known at the All Progressives Congress (APC) thanksgiving held on Saturday at Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“We are facing some very serious challenges as a country,” Amaechi told thousands of his party faithful and supporters who attended the event.
“These are problems of insecurity, challenges of greater accountability in governance, youth unemployment, and the scourge of spiraling poverty.
BREAKING: Amaechi Declares for 2023 Presidency https://t.co/KJRkwf4pKN— Nigeria Info FM 99.3 (@NigeriainfoFM) April 9, 2022
“But at 58, and a member of the generation born after independence who has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of Nigeria, I am compelled by the urgency of our present challenges to place my experience and proven capacity at the service of the nation at the highest level,” the minister explained.
Mr. Amaechi traced his political journey through his days as the speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, a position that saw him become the chairman of the Conference of Speakers; a two-term governor of Rivers State, as well as the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum; and Minister of Transportation in the last seven years.
“These 23 years of service have equipped me not only with great experience in governance and public service but also compassion for the ordinary citizens of our dear country,” the 58-year-old told the cheering crowd of APC supporters.
“The notion of running for president would have been far beyond the imagination of the young lad running around the streets of Diobu or our small compound in Ubima.
“Not to talk of the young indigent student leader, mobilising peers at the University of Port Harcourt,” Amaechi said.
“But my aspiration is not about fulfilling any personal ambition. I am contesting for office because I believe that it is my moral duty to give what I can in the service of my country.”
With #Amaechi2023 declaration today, a good time to read my piece from February 6th…https://t.co/23eLSvCPxW— Ufuoma Egbamuno (@Foskolo) April 9, 2022
The minister however admitted that the journey to replace President Muhammadu Buhari next year won’t be easy considering the “insecurity, challenges of greater accountability in governance, youth unemployment and the scourge of spiraling poverty” Nigeria is currently facing.
Hear him, “These problems are however not the exclusive preserve of Nigeria. We live in a troubled world. The reality we used to know has altered in nearly every nation.
“Climate change has brought about food scarcity in some places. Population explosion has produced unusual pressure on resources and supplies. Poverty has become a challenge all over the world, especially in the developing world.
“The Covid crisis has placed unanticipated burdens on the budgets of nations and put pressure on available resources. Transborder crises have erupted in unusual places and placed the internal security of many nations under pressure.
“We are part of the Sahel, an area of the world that is subject to frequent terrorist attacks. Let us look at our current challenges as part and consequences of these global trends.”
Education/Health/reducing militancy his biggest achievements.— Ufuoma Egbamuno (@Foskolo) April 9, 2022
Closed courts/monorail, his biggest pitfalls. https://t.co/k97QXiacmW
But the 2023 presidential hopeful insists the problems the country is facing “are not beyond the capacity of our people to solve.”
“I have been in the political arena for 23 years,” Amaechi reiterated. “It is this combination of experience and patriotic passion that I bring to the table.
“I look forward to meeting you in your towns, villages, cities, campuses, and creeks. I want to hear your desires, needs, and pains.
“I want to know what matters most to you. I want to listen and learn. I will be coming with one assurance: I will be welcome everywhere because the blood of every Nigerian flows in my veins.
“I shall be the president of all and every Nigerian,” Amaechi concluded.
This is the full text of Mr. Amaechi’s address.