A former Governor of Rivers State who is now the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has revealed why he joined politics in the country.
During an interview with PUNCH over the weekend, Amaechi revealed that he did not become a politician to be a leader or to solve the problems in the country.
According to Amaechi who has held political office since the return to civil rule in 1999, unemployment pushed him into politics rather than the zeal to serve.
“I didn’t join politics because I wanted to be a leader or because I wanted to solve Nigeria’s problems. I joined because of unemployment. I also believe there is a part that grace played in it,” he said.
Amaechi lamented the poor representation of the people by political officeholders.
According to him, the poor have never been properly represented by the government whether it is the current administration, which he is part of, or the ones before it.
“The poor are still here and I doubt if they would ever go away. What happens is that the elite – whether the capitalists or socialists – must manage them in such a way that they can be provided for,” he added
The transport minister highlighted some of his betrayals and the challenges of young people succeeding in Nigerian political terrain.
He said to make headway in the ‘gerontocratic’ Nigerian politics goes beyond prayer, fasting, and hard work.
“They also need to be bullish. Don’t just accept that it’s not your right. Rather, assert and protect your rights. Also, it is important to be at the right place at the right time,” he said.
“One has to be a hard man to survive the betrayals in Nigerian politics. Imagine someone you used to sleep on the same bed with and have given both financial and political assistance to selling you out because of his ambition,” he said in a seeming reference to his successor as governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.
When asked about some of the greatest lessons he have learnt in politics, Amaechi said:
“I used to be a very carefree person. Though I’m still one, I have managed to keep people, no matter how close, away from my private life, because one could be betrayed at any time. I have learnt that from politicians.
“If I had let them (politicians) into my life, I am sure by now, they would have been claiming that I own one thing or the other. The politicians in Rivers State have betrayed people so badly that one cannot trust anybody.”