By Ernest Chinwo
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has instituted a N100 million Empowerment Programme for Wakirike Women from Okrika and Ogu/Bolo Local Government Areas for the roles they played in defense of democracy during the 2019 Elections.
The governor also decried the inability of the country to conduct credible elections after several years of practising democracy.
He spoke yesterday at the Government House Port Harcourt during a Solidarity visit by the leaders and people of Okrika and Ogu/Bolo Local Government Areas.
He said:”It is unfortunate that up till now, we cannot conduct free and fair elections in Nigeria.
“It is unfortunate that the giant of Africa lacks the capacity to conduct credible elections”.
While commending the Wakirike Women for defending the Rivers mandate against the invading soldiers during the last general elections in the state, Wike urged Rivers people to always ensure that their votes count during elections.
“At all times, continue to defend and protect the Rivers mandate”, he said.
He said out of the N100 million meant for the empowerment Programme for the women of Wakirike ethnic Nationality, N50 million has been reserved for Okrika Local Government Area and N50 million for Ogu/Bolo.
He commended Wakirike people for maintaining peace in the area, saying that his administration would fulfill key developmental pledges to them.
On the Okrika Grammar School, Wike urged the leaders of the area to write to the Anglican Church for the school to be released to the state government for total reconstruction
He reiterated his respect for Traditional Rulers, saying that they are under obligation to promote the culture of Rivers people.
“We must always promote our tradition and culture. I have respect for Traditional Rulers. All I say is that we should promote our own culture,” he said.
In an address on behalf of the Wakirike Ethnic Nationality, Senator George Sekibo said they were at the Government House to congratulate the Rivers State Governor on his well deserved victory at the polls.
He praised the governor for the key appointments to Wakirike ethnic Nationality, the projects executed in the area and the recognition/upgraded of Traditional Rulers’ stools of the Wakirike Ethnic Nationality.
He said: “We appreciate the mutual relationship we share in this democratic journey, and wish to remind our Governor of his promises to the Wakirike people during the electioneering campaigns in Okirika and Ogu/Bolo Local Government Areas”.
He urged the Rivers State Governor to reach out to the Wakirike women who courageously defended Rivers votes, despite the deployment of soldiers.
He said: “It is consequent upon this conviction that we the Wakirike people, especially our women, put our pride and our lives on the line to defend our votes.”