Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State has stressed the need for the governorship of the state to be rotated among its ethnic groups in.
This is as the umbrella body of Rivers socio-political organisations, Pan Rivers Alliance, has dismissed the statement credited to the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, endorsing the Supervising Minister of Education Nyesom Wike as the next governor of Rivers State as attempting and impossibility.
He explained that apart from the Ikwerre ethnic nationality, any other ethnic group in the state could contest next year’s governorship election.
Having himself ruled the state as governor from Ikwerre ethnic group; Amaechi said it would be unfair for yet another Ikwerre son or daughter to aspire to become governor of the state next year.
He spoke yesterday when the chiefs and elders of Ogu/Bolo paid him a solidarity visit in Government House, Port Harcourt.
He described those from Ikwerre ethnic nationality warming up for next year’s governorship election in the state as desperate politicians.
He said, "Let me thank all of you for coming and I will for the first time give you a little bit of insight into the Rivers State governorship. For those who want to be governor, I will not by law be allowed to be governor again, I have served my two terms; so from next month we just have twelve months to hand over. “Now what to tell you is what I am now fighting for, to give the Okirika man, the Ogu/Bolo man a voice after we leave office and I can tell you why I say so.
"If PDP is bringing an Ikwerre man to run for governorship when an Ikwerre man has run for eight years, it means that what PDP is trying to do because Ikwerre has about 1.1 million votes in the four Local Government Areas, then Ikwerre would dominate the governorship of the state. It means that you will never have a chance of being governor again, that’s what it means because the reason for doing that is 'oh they are claiming we have xyz number of votes in Obio/Akpor, xyz number of votes in Port Harcourt, xyz number of votes in Ikwerre and Emohua, so only Ikwerre people', if they sit together they can be electing themselves always for governorship and I have told Ikwerre people that that young man whose ambition is blinding him must be thrown out, all Ikwerre people must rise against him and vote for a candidate from another ethnic group."
“If you people allow him and he succeeds, then forget your children, they will never be governor again because all it will take is when he finishes, another Ikwerre man will say I will run o and go and tell Ikwerre people I’m your son, don’t allow these people take it from me and Ikwerre people will back him, so we must show justice and ensure that it is equitably distributed even if you are one ethnic group of 20,000 persons, you have a right to the governorship of the state."
“So Ikwerre people have had their turn and I’m an Ikwerre son, my mother is Ikwerre, my father is Ikwerre, I’ve no blood from any other relationship, so Ikwerre people can't say I am not Ikwerre”.
He said the Ikwerre people and other ethnic nationalities should work together to vote out the supposed Peoples’ Democratic Party governorship aspirant from Ikwerre ethnic nationality for next year’s election."
Amaechi said even the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state would toe the line of justice and fair play not to field any APC governorship candidate from Ikwerre ethnic nationality for the 2015 governorship poll.
“I will not support governorship to go to Ikwerre in APC but as the governor of Rivers State and a frontline member of APC, if I help to ensure that we don’t allow an Ikwerre candidate in APC to allow others to take it, it means that the way to protect yourselves and your children is to vote for that candidate and not for the candidate they are bringing in PDP because Ikwerre cannot govern for another eight years," he said.
He gave assurance that the access road to Ogu/Bolo would be completed soonest as he promised to mobilise local contractors next week to complete the project and other ongoing projects in the state.
He also pledged to build a new model secondary school in Ogu/Bolo to advance education.
Earlier, Chief Jonah Tamuno, on behalf of Ogu/Bolo Chiefs and elders, thanked Amaechi for his inspirational and courageous leadership.
He expressed appreciation that the governor has demonstrated high level of liberality in providing democratic dividends for all Rivers people.
He said, “We quite appreciate your dogged implementation of your administration’s blueprint for the overall development of the state and the well-being of the present generation and the next to come.
“We want to seize this medium to express our profound gratitude to you for your kindness and altruistic gesture even as we register our admiration in your uncommon leadership qualities that make your supporters believe that you are indeed a true born leader with vision, mission and the raw courage to bring it to pass on planet earth. We therefore pledge our unflinching loyalty and support to your purpose-driven administration."
The group said it would be respecting equity and fairness if riverine people were allowed to produce the governor of Rivers State after the upland has held it for so long, adding that Wike being from upland was not eligible to contest.
“All Rivers people will collectively resist any attempt to impose Wike on the Peoples Democratic Party in Rivers State. It is insulting to our collective intelligence to say Rivers People are not thinking Riverine now after 16 years of upland rule and eight years of Ikwerre rule specifically,” the statement said.
The group added that for fairness, the next governor must be from the riverine area, because that is the only part of the state that has not been given the chance to lead the state in the last sixteen years.
The statement reads: “The Pan Rivers Alliance insists that the ongoing debate about which ethnic group should produce the next Rivers State governor in 2015, is a testimony to the fact that most Rivers people accept the need for equitable rotation of political offices in the state.
“We want to remind the political watchers that quite a number of communities in Rives State have over the years adopted zoning as a method of selecting their people for elective and appointive positions. This has helped to maintain fairness and cordial co-existence.
“The Pan Rivers Alliance recalls that in keeping with the spirit of zoning and fairness, Rivers people with the overwhelming support of the ‘Riverine’ massively voted for Dr Peter Odili from a minority ‘upland’ community of Ndoni in 1999 and 2003. The governorship shifted to Ikwerre ethnic group of ‘Upland’ in 2007 due to the insistence of former Governor Peter Odili and the massive support of Rivers people. A position the Ikwerre has occupied to date.
“Consequent upon the 2007-2015 (eighty years) occupation of the governorship position by the Ikwerre, the generality of Rivers people including Ikwerres know that the next governor of Rivers State should in fairness come from another ethnic group in the state that has not produced a governor so far.
“The popular desire of Rivers people that another ethnic group (Kalabari, Andoni, Bonny, Opobo, Nkoro, Abua, Odual, Okrika etc) should produce the next governor of Rivers State should not warrant any person or group of persons to blackmail the First Lady who is a proud Rivers daughter from the ‘Riverine’.