An advocacy group, the Concerned Citizens of Rivers State (CC23), has urged Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike to support someone from the riverine area to become the governor in 2023.
Speaking in Port Harcourt yesterday, the body said allowing the riverine area to produce the governor in 2023 was in the interest of equity and justice.
Its leader, Ken Robinson, faulted a statement credited to Sen. Bennett Birabi calling for a governor of Ogoni ethnic nationality in 2023.
Robinson said Birabi’s position undermined the existing political arrangements and could threaten peace in the state since “Ogoni is part of the upland that has been in power.”
He said if the Ogoni got the opportunity, the upland would have been in power for 24 years, describing such situation as unfair and unjust to the riverine area.
Robinson said: “Former governor and Minister of Transportation Chibuike Amaechi is reportedly disposed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) again presenting a governorship candidate from the Riverine ljaw bloc, in 2023, to give every part of the state a sense of belonging, as the upland has occupied the position since 1999.
“Hence, it will be appropriate to earnestly urge Wike, the leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, to permit history to further write his name in gold letters, by also lending firm consideration to the emergence of a governorship candidate from the riverine ljaw sections of the state, under the PDP, in the 2023 governorship election.”
He argued that statistics on political positions and benefits at all levels should be clear, transparent and honest, insisting that power sharing in a multi-ethnic society should take into account the realities of political balance and other strategic interests.
Robinson said: “In Rivers State, the founding fathers took cognisance of the upland and riverine arrangement as a natural political divide. Though some political stakeholders have struggled to dispute the classification, it has remained evident and respected in the state’s political progression.
“The issue of riverine and upland is like Nigeria’s political distinction that cannot be wished away even with the structural creation of six geopolitical zones.
“Consequently, even as we seek to de-emphasise our diversity, it should be noted that this political reality has sustained peace and unity in Rivers State.
“To ignore it is to perpetuate injustice, increase tension and agitation, and exacerbate distrust and acrimony in the state.”