By GBENGA OKE
Pan Rivers Alliance, the umbrella body of Rivers State socio-political organisations, has condemned the statement credited to the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, endorsing Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, as next governor of the state.
The group said that the next Rivers State governor must come from the riverine area of the state, adding that Wike was not qualified to lead the state since he is from the upland, the area which has been ruling the state since inception noting that in the spirit of fairness, the riverrine area must produce the next governor of the state.
The statement read: “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 people that many communities in Rivers State have over the years adopted zoning as a method of selecting their people for elective positions and this has helped to maintain fairness and cordial co-existence.
“We recall that in keeping with the spirit of zoning and fairness, Rivers people, with the overwhelming support of the riverine areas, 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 the upland area in 2007 due to the insistence of former Governor Odili and the massive support of Rivers people.”
On the alleged endorsement of Wike, the group said: “We consider as an aberration, the description of Wike as the leader of PDP in River State and it is worrisome that a junior minister should be accorded the leadership of PDP in a state where there are well-meaning founding leaders such as Dr Odili, Dr Ombo Isokrari, Chief Victor Odili, Prince Uche Secondus (Deputy National Chairman of PDP) and Dr. Tammy Danagogo, the Minister of Sports.”