By Soboma Fynface
MANY Rivers people are getting increasingly worried by the kind of politics that would play out in our state as February 2015 approaches. Those who do not know exactly where we are coming from and the history of Rivers state may not exactly understand or appreciate the gathering political cloud. But one important fact remains that Rivers state is too strategic to Nigeria’s economic stability to be exposed to clearly avoidable political turmoil.
I am referring to the on-going attempts by some people to impose an Ikwerre political dynasty on Rivers state, and this may not be the best for our state. It is on this point, even if on no other ground, that I agree totally with Governor Chibuike Amaechi who has said repeatedly that it would be morally wrong and politically inexcusable for him, an Ikwerre, to handover to another Ikwerre in 2015 because that would be endangering an existing political sharing arrangement between Upland/Riverine areas of Rivers State.
And he is emphatic and passionate about this. My position as a political stakeholder in Rivers state is simple: it will be unfair and unjust for three of our Ikwerre brothers to govern our state, in relay – Celestine Omehia, Chibuike Amaechi and now Nyesom Wike, if the master-plan of the promoters of the Nwike political project materialise in 2015.
It is important to begin now to sound this note of warning because, at my age, I must not keep quiet when I see possible and avoidable ‘destabilisation plan’ in the works.
It was in appreciation of our sociology that the founding fathers of our state, aware that the younger generation may not be good students of history, took steps to devise a political formula for sharing, equitably and in rotation, certain government offices and positions. The product of that prolonged dialogue among our elders was a formula we now refer to as ‘Upland/Riverine’ sharing arrangement.
The equity charter referred to above has, over the years, become a veritable instrument and standard reference point that enabled the people of Rivers State to be fair and just to one another, appreciate and fully support pan-Rivers State political projects that are usually of common interest and benefit to all our peoples.
It was in this spirit that Dr. Peter Odili emerged and was adopted as the governorship candidate of one of the leading political parties in 1998 by largely riverine political heavyweights and intellectuals, even when the upland section of our state, where Odili comes from, did not quite buy into the project. What is particularly remarkable about the 1998 overwhelming support for Odili was that Mr. Ebenezer Isokarari, from the riverine section, was not quite successful in attracting the support and sympathy of the political elite from the riverine.
The primary preoccupation at the time, if I may add, was for power to shift, after Ada George and Melford Okilo, all riverine, had successfully had shots at The Brick House, the seat of government in Rivers state. And the arguments and agitation for this shift to happen were largely spearheaded and championed by politicians and intellectuals from the Upland section of our state.
With the emerging ‘Ikwerre monopoly’ of our governorship seat, the political equity and our working political sharing formula that has helped sustain political equilibrium and sanity in Rivers state appear to be under serious threat.