His appointment as Minister of Transportation might have come as a bit of surprise but immediate past Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, is the least bothered as he has settled in to his new position.
The ex-governor was tipped by most to emerge as Minister of the Niger Delta but when President Muhammadu Buhari finally swore-in the 36 ministers yesterday and assigned portfolios to them, Pastor Usani Uguru from Cross River State got the nod to oversee the oil-rich restive region.
Speaking yesterday when he paid a visit to the ministry to acquaint himself with the staff and ongoing activities there, Amaechi, whose screening and confirmation as a minister was not without some drama over his alleged indictment for corruption by the Rivers Government, insisted that he is not a thief.
He also stressed that he won’t steal public funds, neither would he spare any civil servant under his ministry who is caught in the act.
“I am not as bad as people from the outside say I am”, Amaechi told the ministry staff. “I only engage based on principles. I neither take nor give bribes. If you want to relate with me, don’t give me money. I will also not give you money. I don’t want to go to jail so I won’t steal. But I won’t spare thieves”.
Amaechi, who was received by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, directors and other staff, warned that the days of lackadaisical approach to work was over even as he declared himself open to fresh ideas and initiatives from staff of the ministry.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika as well as top shots of agencies in the ministry were present at Amaechi’s maiden meeting with staff of the Transport Ministry.