Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has condemned Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for accusing him of inciting ethnic disharmony in Ijaw land.
Dickson also accused his Rivers State counterpart of promoting “wicked clandestine ethnic supremacist agenda” in the politics of Rivers.
The Governor’s claim was contained in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Fidelis Soriwei and made available to reporters on Sunday
According to the outgoing Governor, Wike was using the disputed oil wells between the two states as a subterfuge to create disunity and cover up his deliberate policy to under-develop Ijaw communities
The governor said Wike’s comments on the disputed oil wells was reckless, childish and uncivilized with an evil intent to attack age-long bonds among brothers.
He said he had tried over the years to restrain himself from responding to the unprovoked and unguarded remarks and excesses of Wike out of respect for the Rivers people.
Dickson warned his counterpart to stop looking at Bayelsa as his conquered political empire and dismissed the Rivers governor’s claims that his state-owned Soku oil wells.
Dickson explained that “while Soku is a Kalabari (Ijaw) community in Rivers State, the disputed oil wells are located in Oluasiri, Nembe local government area of Bayelsa.
“Ijaw leaders made sustained efforts to forge solid bonds of unity among the peoples’ design that Wike was trying in vain to destroy the relationship.”
“Bayelsa under my leadership led a Pan-Ijaw agenda, which culminated in the building of solid bonds of unity across the six states comprising Ijaw indigenes.
“Wike’s reckless expansionist agenda led him to start needless wars with all the neighbouring states of Imo, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa and more to come to the detriment of the unity of the Niger Delta and the South-South.
Governor Dickson also made reference to the Supreme Court decision on the issue that directed the National Boundary Commission to carry out a fresh delineation and demarcation exercise in the affected area.
He said: “The Good people of Rivers State should not be preys in the hands of Wike who want to promote disunity and hatred in Ijaw land because he is promoting an ethnic supremacist political agenda in the state.
“The Governor of our neighbouring state, Governor Wike of Rivers State who by the way is used to making careless and very childish remarks from time to time, went into his usual habit some few days ago.
“Let me put it on record, this is the first time I will formally respond to Wike’s childishness in this formal way. I have always ignored with pain and regret all the previous vituperations and his attempt to belittle and intimidate this state and our leadership.
“His unfriendliness towards this state is not hidden. It’s not just me, it’s about our state and our people, he has done that a couple of times but I decided to stomach it for several reasons.
“Also, my involvement in the affairs of the Niger Delta and my commitment to the wellbeing of our people, made me to always shied away from having open confrontations with a brother governor, particularly of his state that is so closely tied to our state.
“As we speak, because of the level of social and business interactions, most of our people and leaders live in Port Harcourt, and so I have been very reluctant since he started his unreasonable hostility towards us.
“I have been very reluctant even to respond publicly, out of respect for our historical ties, respect for the good people of Rivers state itself, whom he is misrepresenting, and the other point is yes Wike can attack Bayelsa, because he doesn’t have his indigenous Ikwerre people in Bayelsa state.
“But the Governor of Bayelsa has his indigenous Ijaw people who are major stakeholders in Rivers state. So as a result of these, for the past four to five years, since he started his childish and unguarded drunken behavior, I’ve been very reserved responding.
“But I have had to formally do so and Governor Wike knows that I’m not someone who shies away. I have had to hold myself because the Governor of Bayelsa represents much more than governorship of a state. Out of respect for our people in Rivers state, I’ve always held back, but this time, no, he has gone too far.
“And so I want to use this opportunity to condemn the way and manner he threatens and shows disrespect to our leaders in that state and I want to particularly respond to what he said concerning my visit to our revered leader and father, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, who will be 90 years next year.
“And I want to make it clear as governor of this state, either me or any other person who will be governor, we don’t need Governor Wike’s permission to visit our traditional rulers and elders in Port Harcourt or any part of Rivers state.
“Since he doesn’t understand courtesy and is not prepared to show courtesy, then that courtesy will not be extended to him. Bayelsa is not an annex of Rivers state that he can intimidate at will.
“If we are quiet, it’s because it is strategic, especially with me as the oldest governor even in the south-south, but this nonsense from Wike must stop.
“Wike should stop interfering with the politics of Bayelsa state, you all know what he did in the PDP primaries and the roles he played supporting the APC in their federal takeover of our state, there are so many things he has been doing that I keep quiet about.
“Wike should learn to respect his colleagues for whom he has shown scant regard not just for me, and Bayelsa. He is having oil wars with every state around him; with Imo and Akwa Ibom states. What is wrong with him?”
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