By Dr. Akurokokiya Johnbull
The Webster’s Dictionary of the English language simply defines a patriot as one who so much loves his native country that he can do anything to enliven and strengthen its strings of concordant and unifying bonds.
Time there was when the collective fate and unambiguous aspiration of true Rivers patriots dangled in the balance, because of the greed and confusion orchestrated by people who preferred to stand history on the head by denying that the Rivers people ever had an orderly succession formula bequeathed to them by their eminent founding fathers like Chief Harold DappaBiriye, Chief Melford Okilo, Dr. Obi-Wali, Chief C.C.Nwuche, Chief O. N. Nsirim and several others too numerous to mention. That state of indecision and uncertainty terminated the day Comrade Adams Oshiomole declared Architect Tonye Cole in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, as the bona fide APC gubernatorial Flag Bearer, laying to rest the concocted fables propagated by the agents of greed, fuelled by their vaulting ambition.
It has been repeatedly echoed by responsible and discerning Rivers minds that there exists a power rotation formula for the Rivers People, bequeathed to them by their patriotic and foresighted founding fathers.
Let’s for purposes of clarity recall that Rivers State is essentially amphibious in nature. Only the greedy and pretentiously “uninformed” would feign ignorance of that reality. There are the Riverine and Upland components in our geographical ecosystem. The Riverine largely includes such reputable entities in the following kingdoms: Kalabari, Opobo, Bonny, Bille, Andoni, Okrika etc.
On the other hand, the Upland largely includes the following kingdoms: Ikwerre, Ogoni, Ekpeye, Ogba,Engenni, Ndoni, Etche, Abua/Odual etc.
We re-iterate for the umpteenth time that were it not for the tempestuous interruption of our political evolution by the military through the January, 1984 Coup d’etat, the baton of Rivers State’s leadership would have naturally been handed to one of the most illustrious and finest scions of Etche Kingdom, Dr. (Barr.) Dominic Anucha alias “Egedege”
In effect, Dr. Anucha as the Deputy to Chief Melford Okilo formed a perfect and harmonious pair to watch in the noble enterprise of God-fearing governance, where love and trust, devoid of primordial suspicion and rivalry reigned supreme. This was perfectly predictable in view of the unwritten but firmly entrenched and inviolable power rotation formula between the Upland and Riverine segments of the State.
After a long interregnum of military rule that initially seemed interminable, Dr. Peter Odili came on saddle and served for eight uninterrupted years as Governor of Rivers State. This year 2019, marks the 20th uninterrupted year of an Upland man in the saddle of Rivers State governorship.
Our current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in principled and most laudable resolve concluded that the time has come for a Riverine person to be garbed in the deserving mantle of Rivers rulership. We thank the APC National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomole for his legendary level headedness, in never hesitating for one second to hand over to Tonye Cole the Rivers State gubernatorial flagship. Tonye Cole is a young industrialist with a chain of thriving Petro-chemical and Energy installation companies that cut across more than 25 African countries. He may easily be described as our own up and coming Mark Zuckerberg. His ambition is to industrialize Rivers State and boost its dwindling job opportunities, and not merely sitting back to “reconstruct” its rumbling stomach infrastructure with the type of mortar only Fayose can produce e.g. rice, beans, wrappers and monetary bribes called by other names. He is an illustrious son of the Kalabari kingdom, precisely from Abonnema City, with its array of highly educated and enlightened citizenry like Dr. Nabo-Graham Douglas, Justice Karibi Whyte, Dr Dele Cole, Professor G.D. Briggs, Alabo Graham-Douglas, Chief O. B. Lulu-Briggs, Chief Dagogo-Jack, the Don Pedros, etc. The neighbouring Buguma is the home-base of the famous Kalabari Monarch, Prof J.T.T. Princewill. You will also meet there the world-renowned Professor of Virology, our proudly owned Prof. Tam David West or one of the finest brains this country’s’s State Security apparatus has produced, Chief A. K. Horsefall. Shall we journey further to the Ancient Opobo Kingdom with the eminent descendant of the legendary King Jaja of Opobo, or one of Nigeria’s renowned Professors of Geodesy and Earth sciences, Prof F. Dagogo-Fubara.Are these the groups of communities and distinguished personalities to be discountenanced and relegated for two long decades, in the realm of Rivers State governance, with a casual wave of the hand?
We thank Adams Oshiomhole for not falling for the deceptive propaganda of the shameless agents of fifth columnists, who are no doubt working to weaken and undermine the base of the APC in Rivers State. The PDP is fervently praying that the APC may not even field a candidate for the governorship elections. The situation may be very much likened to the football fans of Man-United fervently praying that the receding quake-provoked Tsunami in distant Indonesia should miraculously swallow up Neymar and Mbappé, before their Champions’ League match with PSG in February. Funnily enough, the PDP are in court shamelessly fanning the embers of disunity in the APC and pleading passionately that the Court may serve the INEC an injunction not to allow the APC to field its gubernatorial Flag bearer in the forth-coming elections,while the Magnus Abes are bluffly playing the time-wasting beautiful bride that does not know that her time is fast running out.
No justice system worth respectable reference should be associated with such partisan irascibility. The Accord party is the new target of the PDP in this game of de-stabilizing shenanigans. In essence, the no more hidden agenda is to prevent any notable riverine candidate from participating in the forth-coming gubernatorial contest, side by side with the incumbent governor, as Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs might perhaps constitute an undesirable hitch in garnering the Kalabari votes. We hereby mention in passing that both Senator Magnus Abe and Chief Dumo Lulu Briggs are prominent members of the APC in Rivers State. But Rivers State is in pathetically short supply of the patriotic Ambodes of Lagos State. Everybody wants to be the governor of Rivers State or nothing else. It is like our own Oby Ezekwesili with her impeccable Queens’ English diction and indisputably academic profundity, wanting to become the next President of our great country. She was sighted distributing well-couched manifesto-tracts in Abuja for her Allied Peoples Party of Nigeria. But the question is, what are the chances of such “rookies”making it in the elections when the chips are down? For it takes a very long time and considerable human resources/material investments, to build viable political structures. Why should Chief Dumo Lulu-Briggs and Senator Magnus Abe not join their Leader to consolidate the unity of the APC for the epic and daunting battle to unseat a serving governor?
Chibuike Amaechi, a two-term governor of Rivers State and the current Federal Minister of Transportation is an Upland Ikwerre man from Ubima, with an uncommon sense of justice and unifying vision for all Rivers people. By the grace of God and at the appropriate time, we shall erect his statue somewhere in this state, as the symbol of our unity and age-long enviable amphibiousness. Can I once more plead with our brothers to follow their leader in sharing his noble objective of giving our Riverine brothers a much desired sense of belonging? I am tempted to quote my favourite columnist in one of the national newspapers, who once wrote:
“Without the unanimity of vision based on shared values, the political party becomes an atomized and atomistic collection of warring political war lords.”
This is the time for action and not for ranting perilous inanities that lead us nowhere. APC for change, from exclusiveness to inclusiveness; APC for change, from crass greed and egotism to shared privileges and universal love. God bless Rivers State.