Opinion | Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe Exploiting Ethnic Agenda For Self-enrichment

By Kelvin Ebiri

In his usual manner, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe has shown himself again as being infantile, ignorant, and pedestrian in his view on issues about the workings of State and governance.

We have chosen therefore, to do this reply to Sara-Igbe’s baseless allegations against the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. The magnitude of falsehood peddled in his statement should not be ignored.

To tact, Governor Wike had always sued for peaceful coexistence. He had created the climate for every ethnic nationality to consider themselves as one indivisible Rivers State.

That was why, on 12th September 2022, while inaugurating the ultra-modern former Riv-Bank Insurance building in Port Harcourt, he said, “I have told people, let us live in peace. So many people think that if they don’t talk about us, they won’t survive. People like to use the dead of our prominent people to play politics.”

Hours after listening to this counsel of the governor, Sara-Igbe would refuse that peace should prevail. He seemed to be a person whose survival depended on dragging the governor into everything he must think, write and discuss about. He delights playing to the gallery too, all too cheaply.

Otherwise, what is the justification of his assertion when he alleged that Governor Wike operates a sectional and ethnic governance. Are Kalabari people not prominent in Wike’s administration? Are Ijaw people not also chief beneficiaries of the administration?

We, therefore, strongly consider it would be a grievous error to ignore Sara-Igbe’s sinister attempt to paint a dubious picture that under the Governor Wike’s administration, the Kalabari ethnic group has been faced with the problem of alienation, and that Rivers State is a fragmented society.

Efforts to integrate diverse ethnic groups in the interest of Rivers State has been, and remain, at the heart of the Wike’s administration endeavour to build a united and prosperous State.

The Ijaw tribe has been and remained an important key player in the Wike’s administration. To this end, the latest vituperation by the self-appointed “protector” of Kalabari nationality, does not and can never resonate well with people of Ijaw extraction.

Sara-Igbe blinds himself to the reality he knows. The position of the deputy governor is Kalabari and Ijaw. The head of the Rivers State civil service is Ijaw. Just before the party primaries started, Kalabari, and indeed Ijaw held the post of the Secretary to the State government.

The Ijaw is sufficiently represented in the State’s Executive Council. If not that Sara-Igbe is suffering from chronic political tribalism and a fomenter of ethnic squabbles, does he not know about the ongoing construction work on the phase one of the multi-billion Naira Trans-Kalabari Road?

The Trans-Kalabari Road was flagged off on June 24, 2021 by governor Wike. That road transverses several Kalabari communities and satisfies age long yearnings of Kalabari people. Other administrations paid lip service to it, but the Wike’s administration is doing it. This is a trunk A road and billed for inauguration before the end of 2022.

The Wike’s administration has also rehabilitated and reconstructed hospitals, schools, roads and embarked on reclamation of vast expanse of land from the mangrove swamp.

Some of the reclamation projects include the sand-filling of 52 hectares of land for the Abonnema people and over 18 hectares in Sara-Igbe’s home town, Kula. The commitment to accomplishing them transcends mere politics. In Asari-Toru, 18 hectares sand-filling work was done in Abalama Town. In addition to the 18 hectares reclaimed in Bakana in Degema to provide more hectares of land to the people.

Would Sara-Igbe deny that in Akuku-Toru, the ring road with a bridge was not completed in Abonnema? The completion of that road made it easy for guests to Chief O B. Lulu -Briggs burial to ply.

In fact, on the 9th September 2022, Governor Wike inaugurated the once decrepit Community Secondary School Obu-Ama, Harry’s Town in Degema Local Government Area. More schools have been reconstructed in Bakana and Tombia towns. He also revamped the Kalabari National College, Buguma.

Sara-Igbe must be reminded that Governor Wike intervened at various times in addressing the family feud that rose in the wake of the burial of Chief Lulu- Briggs. The Rivers State government participated fully in that burial.

Concerning the burial of Chief Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, Governor Wike stayed away because it was politicised.

So, why would the likes of Sara-Igbe continue to delight in championing initiatives that aimed at systematically destroying aspects of life and living by laying decency in public discourse on the platter where brutish and valueless ramblings are traded?

Sara-Igbe’s ranting that governor Wike hates the Kalabari people and Ijaw nation is baseless and infantile. It is intended to stir primordial sentiments that will deliver no benefits to anyone in the State.

Saga-Igbe’s tantrum is a mere smokescreen of a desperate man wanting to exploit ethnic agenda for self-enrichment and unmerited relevance.

Kelvin Ebiri is a veteran journalist and Special Assistant on Media to the Rivers State Governor