LAGOS, Nigeria — In a blistering critique of the Nigerian populace’s response to political corruption, Rotimi Amaechi, the immediate past Nigerian transport minister and a former governor of Rivers State, accused Nigerians of being unduly passive in the face of politicians’ corrupt practices.
Speaking at the 2023 TheNiche Annual Lecture in Lagos on Friday, October 27, 2023, Amaechi lamented the nation’s complacency in challenging dishonest politicians.
“What is new to say? Nigerians don’t react to anything,” Amaechi declared, openly questioning the credibility of politicians’ credentials. “Has any politician told you he is not a thief? Tell me one. Which politician told you he went to the university? Which politician told you he served in NYSC? Which politician told you he has a certificate? Nigerians know and still vote for them. So what’s your problem?”
Amaechi’s comments struck a grim note when he mentioned the rise in suicides among Nigerians, seemingly due to the pressures and disillusionment created by political malfeasance.
“Instead of Nigerians facing their problems, they are committing suicide,” he remarked. “I’m praying for you so that you will continue to commit suicide so that one day I’ll wake up and all of you have died. I can now enjoy the benefits of your death by speaking those things.”
In his address, Amaechi emphasised the stark contrast between the reactions of Nigerians to political issues and that of their African counterparts.
“What other people resist in Ghana and Kenya, Nigerians say no worry no be four years, him go go,” Amaechi said, pointing out the resignation many feel towards short political terms and their aftermaths. “The man wins the second term by crook or magic, they’ll say no be eight years. No be Goodluck and Buhari don go so? Him go soon go.”
Concluding his impassioned speech, Amaechi voiced his own sense of hopelessness regarding the status quo: “So I’ve chosen to be like you; say nothing, hear nothing and do nothing.”
While some have lauded Amaechi’s candour, others believe his remarks were inflammatory and not constructive for a nation striving for unity and growth.