By Simeon Nwakaudu
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that Traditional Rulers play a critical role in the development of the State, emphasizing that he has a deep respect for Traditional Rulers.
Speaking during the installation Ceremony of Former Minister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, as Head of Achin War Canoe House, of Kiniju Town and admission as member of Okrika Divisional Council of Chiefs, at National Field, Okrika on Saturday, Governor Wike regretted that some unpopular politicians in the state continue to play politics with the Traditional Institution. He said: “I have great respect for Traditional Rulers because they are critical to the development of our State. “It is regrettable that some politicians always want to play politics with the Traditional institution. I am the only Governor who has always declared open their quarterly meetings. It was not so in the past.”
Governor Wike said stated that he will always promote the tradition and culture of Rivers people, noting that in all his engagements with Traditional Rulers, he has always maintained that they promote their respective ethnic nationalities. He said: “When I urge the Traditional Rulers to promote Rivers culture it is not aimed at disrespecting them. We must promote our own culture. We must show we are Rivers people. “Those playing politics with the Traditional Institution were the ones that balkanised the traditional institution in the State. What I said is, carry along your official Staff of office, which distinguishes you as Traditional Rulers. Our Traditional Rulers must prove at all times that they are not second class citizens.”
Governor Wike urged Chief Abiye Sekibo to use his experience and contacts to add value to the Okrika Divisional Council of Chiefs. He said: “Use your experience to attract development to the area. I want to commend the people for choosing Dr Abiye Sekibo”. The Governor said despite emerging as the head of Achin War Canoe House, Dr Sekibo’s contributions are still required in the political landscape.
Senator Representing Rivers East Senatorial District, Senator George Sekibo said with the induction, Chief Abiye Sekibo is now a leader in charge of a division, noting that he is like a general in the army. He said: “As a war canoe chief, you should be ready at every point in time to defend your people. To defend the citizens of your war canoe. Today’s defence is not necessarily war, it may be economic. Whatever challenge, it is required of you to salvage the situation”.
Chairman of Okrika Divisional Council of Chiefs, Chief Kala Wolo said Okrika people are happy with Governor Wike because he loves them and is committed to their development. He informed that Okrika people will soon celebrate the Governor’s re-election. The induction of Chief Abiye Sekibo as Head of Achin War Canoe House and admission into Okrika Divisional Council of Chiefs witnessed Traditional Dances, which climaxed with Chief Sekibo displaying before the audience.