Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi has ruled out the possibility of having a violent revolution in the country, saying Nigerians are too timid to carry out one.
Amaechi made this statement in Ekiti State on Saturday at the second Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders, organized by The Future Project.
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, were also in attendance.
Amaechi said many Nigerians had become used to suffering rather than pushing for a change and that the country had gone through 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.”
He said courage was needed as those who were truly seeking a change would never be afraid of guns.
The governor added that he was not in support of the call for the disintegration of the country, saying there were many advantages in being together.
Meanwhile, The Presidency on Sunday reacted to a claim by Amaechi that Nigeria was gradually sliding back to the era of dictatorship.
Amaechi, who was awardedthe Vanguard Personality of the Year Award in Lagos on Saturday, was said to have explained before reading his speech 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”.
Tthe Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, issued a response, saying that 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, and 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.”