Andrew Uchendu, the senator representing Rivers East Senatorial District in the national assembly has urged Governor Nyesom Wike to respect the state’s monarchs and not to treat them with contempt, but with decorum and honour.
Uchendu, the Acting Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Procurement, made the statement on Wednesday in Port Harcourt, according to his media aide, Solomon Okocha.
He described as uncalled for, the comments made by Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), during the 108 and 109 general session of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers in the Rivers state capital on Monday.
He said: “Let me congratulate the most respectable traditional custodians of our rich heritage for successfully hosting the council’s general session in Port Harcourt. It gives me great joy to know that our traditional institution is still waxing strong.
“I am, however, deeply saddened that Wike, just to exert undue political influence, adopted the archaic tactics of intimidation, harassment and treated our revered royal fathers like a football, by publicly threatening to dethrone them as though they were merely his political appointees, whom he could hire and fire at will, thereby desecrating our culture.
“This is clearly an affront to our respected traditional institution and we will not take it lightly. Wike should learn to treat our traditional rulers with decorum, respect and honour, especially in the public space. They are not his aides, rather they are rulers of various traditional kingdoms, and as such, they deserve to be treated with utmost dignity and not contempt.
“Rivers governor should remember his age (51) and be humble while talking to our traditional rulers and elders of our land. His duty is to preserve and protect them at all times. He should remember that the traditional institution has been in existence, long before he became governor and it will still be here after he leaves office.
“Wike should go and study the history of the people of the Niger Delta, especially the ancient and great Benin Empire, and he will see how the traditional institution cut down the excesses of the colonial masters during the dark days.”
Uchendu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also urged Rivers traditional rulers to be vigilant and reject intimidation from any politician, stressing that they should guard the sanctity of their traditional stools against political manipulations.
He said: “It is good enough that Wike said our traditional rulers should remain apolitical, but to go ahead and dictate whom they should see or not, in an attempt to restrict communication between them and their subjects or any other individual, is to treat our royal fathers, our culture, with the highest level of disrespect. In view of this, Wike should immediately tender an unreserved apology to our traditional rulers and the people of Rivers State.
“The Rivers governor cannot choose for our traditional rulers whom they should interact with, because they are expected at all times to render pieces of advice across the board, whether in party A or B, no matter whose ox is gored.
“Our traditional rulers must carry out their traditional functions without fear or favour, by consciously and consistently rejecting any form of intimidation from any politician, no matter how highly placed, and in so doing protect the sacredness of the traditional stools which they occupy. And as the saying goes, may our Royal Majesties, live forever.”
The senator also urged well-meaning Rivers leaders and other lovers of democracy to call Wike to order, asking him not to be jittery about the fact that the state’s electorate would end his bad governance in 2019 with their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).