FROM THE CREEKS TO THE THRONE…TOM ATEKE BECOMES TRADITIONAL RULER
Many are still dumbstruck at the news that one of Nigeria’s most feared warlords, Tom Ateke, has been crowned Amanyanabo of Okochiri town in Wakirike, Rivers State. A feared warlord who held successive Nigerian governments by the jugular in view of superintending over a vast army of armed youths and sophisticated arsenal, and knowledge of the nooks and crannies of Niger Delta creeks especially where the pipelines with the largest reservoir of crude were located, there is no gainsaying the creeks were his orbit and oyster.
A kinsman of former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the white-bearded Ateke is as wealthy as they come, a factor many contended worked in his favour despite his antecedents. In fact, now that he has gone on to more glorious acclaim, the creeks would sure miss one of its most formidable occupants. Last weekend, Rivers State heaved and creaked as the leader of the Niger Delta Vigilante, an ethnic militia, had a colourful coronation ceremony in Okochiri, Okrika Local government area. Marked by colourful festoonery and festivity, traditional dances, rites and musical displays, many prominent sons of Okrika, notably, Governor Nyesom Wike, were in attendance.
Other prominent citizens were Chief Kenneth Kobani, Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Chief Chidi Wihioka, Chief Emma Anyanwu, Dr. Abiye Sekibo (former Minister of Transport), Rt. Hon. Evans Bipi, Rt. Hon. Adams Dabotorudima and Hon. Wellington Granville. In his remark, Governor Wike advised the newly crowned monarch against being used to disunite the people of Okrika town and to further establish himself as an agent of unity and progress.