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Support Ijaw to emerge next Rivers governor, IYC urges Wike, others

By Kelvin Ebiri, Port Harcourt
12 December 2019   |   3:34 am
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has described Governor Nyesom Wike’s assertion that the governorship position is open to all ethnic nationalities of Rivers State in 2023 as insensitive.

• Governor seeks collaboration among ethnic groups on successor

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has described Governor Nyesom Wike’s assertion that the governorship position is open to all ethnic nationalities of Rivers State in 2023 as insensitive.IYC President, Eric Omare, said Wike’s assertion smacked of insensitivity to the ethnic diversity of Rivers State and deliberate effort was being made to lay the foundation for someone from his Ikwerre ethnic nationality or upland part of the state to succeed him.

Specifically, the IYC urged Governor Wike and other stakeholders in the state politics to support a Rivers Ijaw for the governorship position come 2023 in the interest of fairness and to give a sense of belonging to all parts of the state.Omare was reaction to statement credited to Wike during the civic reception in his honour by the Ikwerre ethnic nationality to the effect that he would support any Rivers indigene from any of the ethnic nationalities with capacity to be governor in 2023.

The IYC quoted the governor as further saying that it was not the turn of any particular section of the state to produce the next governor of the state.“While we agree with Wike that capacity to govern is important in choosing who should become governor, we however, disagree with Wike that the person can come from any of the ethnic nationalities of the state.

“The statement is insensitive to the ethnic diversity of Rivers State and a deliberate effort by Wike to lay the foundation for someone from his Ikwerre ethnic nationality or upland part of Rivers State to succeed him,” Omare said.He added that it must be noted that just like Nigeria and most states of the federation, Rivers State comprises different ethnic groups with a clear distinction between riverine and upland parts of the state.

He explained that the implication was that in the governance of the state, the distinction between riverine and upland must be taken into consideration in all decisions including choosing the next governor.“In the case of Rivers State, from 1999 till date, the governorship has been in the upland part of the state from governors Peter Odili, Rotimi Amaechi to Wike.

“In short, the Ikwerre ethnic nationality which Amaechi and Wike hails from by 2023 would have governed the state for an unbroken 16 years. This is unfair and completely unacceptable to the Ijaw people and should be rejected by all men of conscience all over the country.

“We agree with Wike that whoever want to become governor would need the support of all ethnic Nationalities of the state,” he said.But Governor Wike urged all ethnic nationalities seeking to present his successor to liaise with others, rather than take actions that would engender disunity in the state.Wike stated that when the Kalabari ethnic nationality visited him at Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday.