Nyesom Wike, the Rivers State Governor, on Thursday, came under heavy criticism for appointing an acting traditional ruler to oversee traditional affairs in Eleme Kingdom.
Wike who was in Eleme for the burial of One-Eh Eleme X, King Samuel Oluka Ejire, extolled the leadership style of the late king.
He said: “On behalf of the government and people of Rivers State I offer my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the entire people of Eleme at this period of sorrow.
“He lived a very good life. The family should continue to uphold his core values and promote peace at all times”.
He prayed that the successor of the Late Traditional Ruler would be a man of peace, committed to the welfare of Eleme people.
“A wise, kind-hearted and progressive monarch, His Majesty had been a partner with government and a champion of peace and sustainable development. It is to his credit that Eleme land witnessed peace and Development during his reign “, he said.
The governor stated that only one person will succeed the Late King, adding that other leaders of the area should rally round the person for the good of the area.
Governor Wike urged the people to work in unity for the early replacement of the Late Traditional Ruler, for the continuation of his good works.
However, the governor’s decision did not go down with Eleme indigenes who criticised the governor for trying to ruin their traditional heritage.
Reacting to the decision of Governor Wike to appoint an acting traditional ruler for the kingdom, Baari Keena told theportcitynews that the governor had no right to appoint an acting king for the people as the decision is purely that of the people to make.
He said “The temerity of the governor in deciding for the people is crude an attempt to play politics with a tradition that precedes democracy in Nigeria.
“It was up to the Eleme people to appoint who would rule them. I have never heard of an acting king before. Even if that was to be, it is not the governor’s decision to make but ours, our elders. This is a sacrilege”
Nwidee Rose said that the governor acted like a dictator in appointing an acting traditional ruler for the kingdom. Who asked him to?” she asked.
The development has generated criticism with people saying that the governor overstepped his boundaries and wants to destabilize the tradition of the area with politics.
But further investigation by theportcitynews.com revealed that since the King died, his second in command, Emere Nchia, has been acting as king and the governor only solidified his acting capacity until when a new king is elected.
Others say the decision of the governor was purely political as according to them, the area is a stronghold of the All Progressive Congress, APC,.
Chris Finebone, the publicity secretary of the APC in Rivers called on the people of Eleme to eschew partisan politics and stand together to defend the sanctity and sacredness of their ancestry.