Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi at the weekend indirectly sent a signal to his estranged benefactor, Peter Odili, when he said the only person who can insult him, apart from his wife and mother and he would not insult him back out of respect, is the former governor of the state, Odili.
Mr. Amaechi made the overture while speaking with some APC members in Eleleme kingdom in Rivers State.
Love was lost between the two men when Odili supported the PDP’s preferred candidate, Celestine Omehia during the 2007 Rivers State governorship election. Omehia later won the election but his victory was upturned by the Supreme Court on Amaechi’s appeal, who despite all entreaties refused to give up what he termed his legitimate right to be PDP governorship candidate.
Everything had seemed working for Amaechi until former President Olusegun Obasanjo, at the event where he was supposed to hand over to Amaechi the party flag, said that the transport minister’s governorship candidacy had developed “K-leg”.
In order to pacify Amaechi, Mr. Odili went for his cousin, Omehia as a replacement. Observers were of the view that, Odili himself gunning for presidency, did not have any choice than to follow the party’s position, then dictated by Obasanjo.
It is understood that Amaechi was not impressed, as he insisted that he was the legitimate PDP governorship flag-bearer, having won the party’s primary.
The only man who stood by Amaechi during those times and who fully supported him, both financially, as he fought to reclaim what he considered his stolen mandate, is the present Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike. Interestingly, Amaechi is in a running personality battle with Wike, who had served as his Chief of Staff.
Mr. Amaechi, was in London when the Supreme Court in October 2007 ruled that he should be sworn in immediately as Governor of Rivers State. The first appointment he made while still in the UK was to announce Wike as Cheif of Staff.
Following his nomination by Amaechi, then Rivers governor, Wike was on the 14th of July, 2011 sworn in by former president Goodluck Jonathan as the minister of state for education.
But like Odili, in order to realise political ambition, (to become Rivers governor), Wike chose to side with President Jonathan and his wife, Dame patience when a feud developed between the first family and Amaechi, triggered by latter’s demolition of the Okirika waterside in Port Harcourt, despite pleas by Mrs Jonathan.
A source talking about the recent reach out to Odili by Amaechi said, “Despite their political differences, Amaechi still feels grateful to Odili for what he did for him both in his private and political life.
“It is Odili who made Amaechi what he is today.
“When Amaechi was roaming about the streets of Port Harcourt with his BA degree in English, it was Odili who gave him succour by employing him as his PA in his clinic.
“Also when Odili wanted to go into politics, he also encouraged Amaechi to do same. Odili ran as governor and Amaechi as House of Assembly member.
“And once both won their races, it was Odili who made sure Amaechi emerged as speaker and remained so through out his eight years as governor.”
Mr. Odili is yet respond to Amaechi’s flattering words.
In 2014, while campaigning for Wike in Andoni, Odili said he regretted supporting Amaechi in the course of his political career to become governor of Rivers State in 2007.