By Kalada Jumbo
State Governors, serving and former Federal Lawmakers, Council Administrators, Traditional Rulers and Religious Leaders joined thousands of Ikwerre people on Saturday to celebrate Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike in a Grand Civic Reception organised by the Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organisation Worldwide to recognise the outstanding contributions of the Rivers State Governor to the national development process.
Chairman of Ikwerre Government Recognised Traditional Rulers, Eze Oha Apara Kingdom, Eze Worlu Wodo announced the conferment of the title: “Dike Oha Ikwerre “, covering the entire Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality.
Roughly translated, “Dike Oha Ikwerre” means Hero/Pillar of Ikwerre People.
He said that the title is in recognition of the outstanding contributions of Governor Wike to the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality and the rest of Rivers State and Nigeria.
One after the other, Leaders from all walks of life sang the praises of Governor Wike, a leader that has distinguished himself in the service to humanity since 1999.
They spoke at the Civic Reception in honour of Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike by the Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organisation Worldwide at the Elechi Amadi Polytechnic in Port Harcourt on Saturday .
Present at the event were: Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, Benue State Governor, Dr Samuel Ortom, Adamawa State Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri,Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal and Taraba State Governor, Dairus Ishaku .
Also present were: Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, Former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili, Former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia, Former Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose , PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Chibodum Nwuche and Senator Dino Melaye.
Former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili said Governor Wike has surpassed the achievements of all his predecessors.
He urged the Rivers State Governor to remain focused on God and Rivers people as he will continue to deliver.
He said: “Hold onto God and Rivers people. Keep your focus on the good people of Rivers State. Use your position to unite the people of Rivers State. “
President-General of Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organization Worldwide, Prof Emenike Wami said the organisation is honouring a worthy and deserving leader.
He said: “He is a man with a heart of service for his people. He has distinguished himself as a performer. “
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara said Governor Wike has been honoured because his people trust his ability to lead.
He said: “He is a trustworthy leader. He is a leader whose words you can take to the bank. Appreciation is an application for more. This is a great honour. By this honour, Ikwerre people are applying for more.”
Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduba said that the outstanding performance of Governor Wike is appreciated by the members of the PDP Caucus of the Senate.
Former Anambra State Governor, Mr Peter Obi said that the achievements of Governor Wike are glaring for all to see.
“Everyone is seeing his achievements. We can only urge you to continue to deliver”, he said.
He said that Governor Wike’s leadership transcends Rivers State as he supports the PDP nationally.
PDP National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus commended Governor Wike for his commitment to state-wide development. He said that Rivers people are happy with the quality of Wike’s leadership.
Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon Austin Opara said this is one way, Ikwerre people are showing that they are happy with Governor Wike for making Ikwerre ethnic Nationality proud.
He informed that Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality with four Local Government Areas, has over 50 percent population of the state and a major voting strength.
He said: “What Rivers State is to Nigeria is what Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality is to Rivers State.”
Former NBA President, Chief Onueze Okocha (SAN) said that Governor Wike was recognised at this time because he has performed exceptionally well.
He urged the Rivers State Governor to keep up the good works as the Ikwerre people and other leaders will continue to recognise him.
In her address, Annkio Briggs said that the Rivers State Governor will continue to emerge victorious because Governor Wike works for the people.
Deputy Leader of Non-Indigenes in Rivers State, Obong Godwin said that Governor Wike has provided an inclusive leadership for Rivers people. He said that the non-indigenes have benefited from the outstanding leadership of Governor Wike.
Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja said since 2015, Governor Wike has done well for Rivers people. He called on the ancestors to continue to bless Governor Wike as he continues to deliver for Rivers people. They assured him of their support.
Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Monday Obolo said that the speakers of State Assemblies are appreciative of Governor Wike’s efforts at development.
Responding, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike thanked the leadership of Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality for the honour.
“I accepted this honour because when I look back from where we are coming from, I am a proud Ikwerre man. I am a Rivers man, but I am come from the Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality”, he said.
Governor Wike declared that all Ethnic Nationalities must work together to ensure the emergence of a Rivers Governor that will carry the entire state along.
“We will continue the legacy of Odili. Anyone with the interest of Rivers State will be supported. Wherever you are from, you must show that you are a Rivers man.
“We must work with all Ethnic Nationalities to move Rivers State forward”, he said.
He urged Ikwerre people not to be intimidated, saying that there can be no political position without the Ikwerre people playing prominent roles.
He noted that Rivers State remains one United state, where all ethnic groups are important.
He said: “Rivers State is one. Nobody can divide Rivers State. No outsider can be Governor of Rivers State. Let us not allow anyone to divide us.
“If you must be a Governor of Rivers State, you must carry Everyone along. No Ethnic Group can do it alone. Once you say it is your turn, it will not work. When you say it is your turn, you have started failing.”
Governor Wike took out time to recognize Rivers and Non Rivers people who have worked over the years to ensure his political growth. He praised Former Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili, Chief Sergeant Awuse, Prince Uche Secondus, Senator Sandy Onoh, Chief Dan Orbih and Alhaji Imam for their contributions.
He said contrary to the claims by some persons, he committed to state-wide development of Rivers State as depicted by his projects.
Governor Wike heightened the celebration as he personally led Ikwerre people on a medley of Traditional Ikwerre songs during the grand Civic Reception.
Traditional Dances and wrestlers also entertained guests at the event.
Ikwerre born musician, Duncan Mighty also performed at the event.