|RIVERS State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi|
Amaechi spoke in Ekiti State on Saturday at the second Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders.
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, Prof. Pat Utomi, Chief Executive Officer of Sahara Group, Mr. Tonye Cole, and representative of Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, among others, attended the symposium, organised by The Future Project.
Amaechi said many Nigerians had become used to suffering rather than pushing for a change.
According to him, Nigeria has experienced worse situations than what led to revolution in some other countries.
Amaechi said he was sure that those who gathered to protest against the removal of oil subsidy in January 2012 would flee immediately the President drafted soldiers to the Freedom Park in Lagos and other states to quell the uprising.
He said, “Yes, revolution can happen outside Nigeria. But here, I do not think so. Tell me what happened in Sudan, Libya, Zimbabwe and other countries that have not happened here. Our elasticity has no limit. You do not pray for electricity to be regular but you know that some Nigerians pray ‘God, let the light be stable today.’ We pray without working to solve our problems and we think God will do what we are supposed to do for us.”
Noting that courage was required to make any change, he said those who were truly seeking a change would never be afraid of guns.
The governor, however, said he was not in support of the call for the disintegration of the country, saying there were many advantages in being together.
Meanwhile, Presidency on Sunday faulted the claim by Amaechi that Nigeria was gradually sliding back to the era of dictatorship.
Before reading his speech where he was honoured with the Vanguard Personality of the Year Award in Lagos on Saturday, Amaechi was said to have explained that he decided to read a prepared speech, because “I am becoming more careful, given that we are gradually going back to the era of dictatorship in this country”.
But in an interview with one of our correspondents, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, said the governor could not have been referring to the President.
Gulak said so far, the President had been ruling the country by adhering strictly to the nation’s constitution.
He said Jonathan, in the spirit of democracy, has also been consulting widely before he takes any decision and so could not be said to be a dictator.
The presidential aide said since Amaechi was one of those ruling the country by virtue of being a governor, he might be admitting by his statement that he was ruling his state like a dictator.
He said, “As a governor, Amaechi is one of those ruling this country. Is he admitting that he is a dictator in his state?
“We are in a democratic administration. We are ruling by the constitution. The President is committed to the rule of law. I am not sure the governor is referring to the President.”