• Justifies Dickson’s visit, demand apology
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) yesterday faulted Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike for threatening to dethrone the Amayanabo of Kalabari, Theophilus Princewill because Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson visited the monarch without informing Wike.
The council, the highest Ijaw youth organisation worldwide, therefore justified Dickson’s visit to Kalabari Kingdom, Rivers State, asked Wike to apologise to the Ijaw nation for disrespecting the monarch.
It demanded the apology in a statement by its President, Oweilaemi Pereotubo, asking the Rivers governor to stop the politicisation of a mere visit and apologise to the king.
There had been an altercation between both governors after Wike Wednesday accused Dickson of planning to cause crisis in the state due to his decision to visit the Amayanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus Princewill without his approval.
Consequently, Wike threatened to sanction the 90-year-old monarch if such a case was reported against him in the future, saying he exercised restraint by not sacking the Amayanabo at the time.
The Bayelsa State Government has not officially responded to Wike’s warning to the monarch.
However, Dickson’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Fidelis Soriwei on his Facebook page said that his principal tried to get in touch with Wike and his handlers but was ignored.
He wondered why the matter was just being raised when the incident happened since April, noting that as the leader of the Ijaw nation, Dickson reserved every right to visit his people when over 40 of them were killed in February during the general elections.
In its statement, the council said Wike’s threat “to remove the revered Amayanabo of Kalabari over Dickson’s private visit to the kingdom was not only an insult to the entire Ijaw nation but also a sacrilege to its sacred traditional institution.
“Wike has over-stepped his bound for daring to insult and ridicule the Ijaw nation in such a despicable manner. Dickson as a law abiding citizen of Nigeria is free to move to anywhere in the country.
“He does not need to seek permission from anybody including the Rivers State governor to go on a private visit to his fellow Ijaw people. Similarly, Bayelsa State being the only homogeneous Ijaw State, its governor is the number one political leader in Ijaw land.
“As a leader of Ijaw nation by reason of his position as governor, Dickson or any other person occupying that exalted office can visit any Ijaw kingdom or community for the promotion of our oneness as Ijaw people and to build our national cohesion” the IYC argued.
The council noted that in the course of promoting Ijaw unity, Dickson on assumption of office in 2012 appointed Ijaw people from the six states where Ijaws are Aborigines into his government. The same trend continues till date. Why will such a person who has been playing leadership role to Ijaw people should not be visiting the Ijaw communities?
“Dickson has been paying visits to Ijaw clans in Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Ondo States. The governors of these states know that Ijaw people anywhere in the world see Dickson as governor to all Ijaw people.
“The monarch too did not commit any offence by receiving the governor who is the highest ranking Ijaw politician today. Wike should not create an unnecessary tension in his state. The Kalabari King did the right thing to have received the Bayelsa State governor.
“The Amayanabo has not committed any offence to incur Wike’s wrath. Wike should rather apologise to Ijaw people, especially the Kalabari Kingdom for reducing the clan to such disrepute with his disdainful threat of eviction. The Ijaw nation will not allow her respected traditional institutions to be insulted with such impudence.”