‘Let Dividends Of Democracy Roll Into Wakirike’
Being an address by Distinguished Senator (Chief) George Thompson Sekibo CON, DSSRS on behalf of the Wakirike people during their visit to the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Chief Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, Pos Africa, at Government House, Port Harcourt on Friday, February 28th, 2020.
Today marks a very special day in the history of the Wakirike people. The Wakirike people are domiciled predominantly in Okrika, Ogu/Bolo and part of Port Harcourt Local government areas of our dear state.
That today is a special day, is underscored by the fact, that we have all our Amanyanapu, Alapu, Elder Statesmen, the intelligentsia, men, women and our youths in full splendor, before our Governor, the government, and leaders of our state.
We are gathered here in one accord, and with one purpose; to say to you, and your lieutenants, Congratulations, for your historic victory at the 2019 governorship polls; and for overcoming its attendant but unnecessary legal tangles. We say to you in our language, Owubo, Ibara Ofirime, Tamunomiebaka. Translated, it means, you are a man of courage and great strength; we thank God.
An occasion such as this, apart from achieving the purpose of congratulating our amiable governor, is a unique and rare opportunity to appear before our political and administrative leader.
As great patriots and loyal citizens, who are always committed to the peace and progress of this administration, and the prosperity of our state, we are glad to felicitate with you, as we work together, towards achieving a common agenda of ensuring social harmony, security and infrastructural development of our state.
‘Those who stand before the king must use their time wisely’. It is within this context we wish to specially thank you:
I.For the appointments into various political positions given to Wakirike sons and daughters in your administration.
ii. For the projects that were executed in Wakirike ethnic nationality in the first tenure of your administration and for others still ongoing such as; construction of Okrika ATC landing jetty, Okrika waterworks and reticulation, construction of Government Secondary School, Ogu and construction of Bolo internal roads; as well as the construction of Amadi-Ama, Tere-Ama and Phase 1 of Okochiri internal roads, among several other projects that are at various stages of execution in Wakirike.
iii. For the recognition and upgrading of traditional rulers’ stools in Wakirike ethnic nationality.
We appreciate the mutual relationship we share in this democratic journey, and wish to remind our Executive Governor of his express promises to the Wakirike people during the electioneering campaigns in Okrika and Ogu-Bolo LGAs as follows:
I Construction of Ogu-Wakama link road
ii Construction of Ogu-Eteo road
iii Resettlement of Ele Town
1 Okrika LGA
I Sandfilling of the swamp opposite ATC waterfront. We wish to reiterate that one of the critical points of the Willinks commission’s Report is lack of adequate land to accommodate the growing population of Okrika. Consequently, this ATC waterfront sandfilling has been one of our consistent demands. We therefore crave Your Excellency to be the first governor to undertake the sandfilling of the swamp opposite the ATC waterfront.
ii Electrification of Okrika through Dr Peter Odili Road substation linking Okujagu-Ama, Ojimba-Ama, Oba-Ama and Igbiri.
iii Construction of Azuabie-Igbiri link road/Bridge.
iv Construction of Phase 2 of Okochiri internal roads.
Your Excellency is a man of honour whose words have always proven to be his bond. We are therefore very confident, that these promises made in the open to the Wakirike people, will be fulfilled by our Governor.
However, as people in the king’s court, we are pleased to make the following requests:
(1) More appointments for Wakirike sons and daughters in your administration especially in the State Executive Council.
(2) Re-establishment of the moribund Government Sea School at Isaka in place of the comatose Sports Institute; and the construction of two concrete landing jetties at Witt and Busch and Isaka for which contract was awarded in 2017/2018 by your administration.
(3) Sandfilling of Phase 2 of Olombie/Owukiri Island in Ogu.
(4) Sandfilling of Bolo waterfront to Yayokiri-Ama at Bolo.
(5) Recognition for more traditional rulers’ stools particularly those not affected by litigations such as the traditional stools of Abuloma, Isaka, Ibaka, Ogbogbo and Ele; and presentation of certificate and staff of office to the incumbent Amanyanabo of Koniju Town.
(6) Rebuilding of Okrika Grammar School, Okrika.
As stated earlier, some of the projects are not new as they were projects earlier promised by your humble self, in your first tenure and during the governorship election campaigns. We believe that at this point in your political career, you will bring to pass your clear and elegant pronouncements concerning the Wakirike people. After all, this governorship is also a Wakirike governorship, because you are one of us.
It is our humble request, Your Excellency, that as a governor who believes in the rule of law, you will give necessary recognition to the traditional rulers’ stools of Ibaka and Ogbogbo towns, two distinct ancient towns of the Wakirike which were erroneously put together under one stool, but rightly corrected by a court of competent jurisdiction vide the ruling on Suit No. PHC/158/79 delivered by the eminent jurist, His Lordship, Hon. Justice S.A. Wai-Ogosu.
We also request, Your Excellency, for the recognition of the occupants of the Abuloma and Koniju Town stools that have already been gazetted as traditional rulers’ stools in Rivers State. The Abuloma stool was created and captured in the Chieftaincy Laws Cap 25 of RSE 1978 No. 5 and further reaffirmed in the publication of Rivers State Traditional Rulers Law No. 4 of 2015.
Consequent upon both laws upholding the Amadabo status of Abuloma Stool, the Abuloma people on 6th August, 2016 coronated retired Brigadier-General Bright Ateke Fiboinumama as their traditional ruler after seeking Your Excellency’s approval which was granted.
We wish to recall, Your Excellency, that you were well represented at the coronation ceremony by the then Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Hon. John Bazia, who also made a speech on your behalf.
It is consequent upon this conviction, our executive governor, that we the Wakirke people, especially our women, put our pride and our lives on the line to defend our votes. It is on record, that our girls and women stripped themselves naked in a rare display of courage and solidarity, to frustrate well armed federal forces and prevent them from stealing our votes and your mandate.
Finally, Sir, may we use this occasion to also announce that the Wakirike people are one of the most loyal and peaceful ethnic nationalities in Rivers State. Your Excellency did make a declaration, that only peaceful communities will enjoy special dividends of democracy in this dispensation. We pray, Your Excellency, to let the dividends of democracy roll into Wakirike.
We commit you and your administration into the safe hands of the Almighty God and wish you well in your endeavours. Thank you, Your Excellency.