·Stop cultism or face dethronement; let no child be out of school; attract development to your areas; and stay away from politics
By Ignatius Chukwu
Traditional rulers in Rivers State have got seemingly uphill tasks from the outgoing governor of the state, Nyesom Wike.
The governor has told them to rid their communities of cult gangs, a task that security agencies and governments have tried in vain to curtail.
Wike, who said Tuesday, 02 May 2023, that he would not hesitate to dethrone any traditional ruler that allowed, tolerated or enabled cult and criminal activities to take root in his domain, also tasked them to ensure no child was out of school.
Critics said the children do not belong to the traditional rulers and so they could only give advice to the real parents to send their children to school. Others said the schools extort pupils a lot with illegal dues and levies thereby discouraging parents from striving to send the pupils back to school.
The governor who made these remarks at the presentation of instruments of office to 33 government-recognized traditional rulers in Government House, Port Harcourt, explained that the presentation of instruments of office was for different classes.
Harping on peace as first responsibility of the traditional rulers, the governor said investors or tourists would only come to places considered safe and secure. “I advise, therefore, that you work with the council chairmen and the security agencies to maintain peace and security in your communities.
Gov Wike, who charged the traditional rulers to be concerned about the progress of their communities, further insisted that it is their responsibility to work with their people, the local councils and the state government to attract development and improve the people’s living conditions.
The governor said he expected them to use their influence to advance and attract development to their communities.
The next task is that traditional rulers should get their people back to the farms. This is a task most governments seemed to have tried and failed, what with insecurity now causing fear in forests and farms.
Yet, Wike said; “We have more than enough land to cultivate and feed our people. Encourage your subjects and the youths to be economically productive. Let your reign be remembered for the significant socio-economic improvements recorded in your communities.”
In an era when honest seems scarce, Gov Wike urged traditional rulers to always be honest, fair, and accountable to their people.
The same traditional rulers that were always used for partisan tasks and who were told where to make their people vote were rather cautioned to shun partisan politics because of its alleged tendency to bring them into disrepute. Meanwhile, most of the traditional rulers are said to get their government recognition through politics.
Wike stated: “I urge that you continue to uphold and promote these values in your communities because their erosion is the root cause of moral decadence and social crisis in our societies.
“Furthermore, I urge you to stay away from partisan politics and be the father of all your subjects, irrespective of the political parties they belong to. Otherwise, you will attract disrespect to your throne and lose your people’s universal respect.”
The governor said Tuesday’s presentation of instruments of office is the second the State government has organised in the eight years of his administration.
He added that it may not be the last because of unending agitations from communities for the government’s recognition and elevation from community clusters.
He said: “Today, I confirm that you have all met and satisfied all the conditions precedent to be recognized or elevated by the Rivers State Government as traditional rulers with the residuary authority of the government to superintend over your respective domains.”
Gov Wike commended the Rivers State Council for Traditional Rulers for their cooperation and support throughout the last eight years of his administration
The Secretary to the Rivers State government, Tammy Danagogo, said by presenting the instruments of office to the traditional rulers, Gov Wike has once again demonstrated his commitment to match his words with action.