A nation would not be called a nation without the different people, groups and communities that come together to form a single unit irrespective of socioeconomic, ethno-religious and cultural differences.
Rivers State is not an exception to this natural design and order. In fact, Rivers State is naturally structured to accommodate and tolerate multiple diversity including religious, cultural and ethnic differences.
It has become very worrisome that the Governor of the Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, has made it a personal duty to severally launch unwarranted verbal assaults on the entire Etche ethnic nationality and its people in total disregard to his constitutional obligation to protect every indigene and resident of the State.
These unprovoked attacks on the entire Etche ethnicity by the Governor has become more frequent in recent times and must stop forthwith. The perceived indignation of Gov. Wike against Etche people has since gained expression in different occasions and utterances and has not spared anyone including revered traditional rulers, top government appointees, political office holders and even elder-statesmen of Etche extraction.
Apart from the ‘first class’ disgrace and monumental insult dished out to a highly respected traditional ruler in Omuma, HRM (Barr.) Onyekachi Amaonwu, the Ezeugo II of Omuma, an Etche son, in a viral video during a visit of traditional rulers in the State to the Governor in Government House, the Governor has equally meted out shocking and demeaning treatments to other Etche sons of no mean repute.
It is unimaginable that a sitting Governor could demonstrate so much pettiness and hatred towards an indigene of his state purely on the grounds of ethnicity and personal difference even in death. Late High Chief Jerome Eke, the Igolo I of Etche and former member of the House of Representatives was a victim of the Governor’s aversion to Etche people even in his death.
As if it was not bad enough that the Rivers State Government did not release any condolence message or statement on the death of someone in the stature of Chief Eke, a former member of the National Assembly, to commiserate with his family, it went ahead to inaugurate the PDP Local Government Election Campaign Council on the same day slated for his burial, seized his corpse and buried him in an unknown location in a most shameful manner under the guise that his death was suspected to be caused by Covid-19 not minding the fact that Late Chief Eke by his position, was a stakeholder in the PDP and Statesman who was deserving of honour.
The Governor’s most recent utterance against another highly placed and respected son of Etche during the grand finale of the PDP Local Government election campaign in Etche further confirms our fears that he has embarked on a verbal ethnic cleansing of Etche. Gov. Wike crudely and publicly insulted Hon. Ephraim Nwuzi, a member of the National Assembly describing him as deaf and dumb. Not only was this attack against Hon. Nwuzi unprovoked, it was absolutely unnecessary and below the belt coming from a Governor.
Most shocking, is the Governor’s brazen statement that he would not construct major roads in Etche because Etche people allegedly gave him only 10,000 votes during the Governorship election in the State. The Governor’s continued attacks against Etche is anti-people, anti- progress and a clear violation of the ethnic sanctity of Etche nation.
I rise to call on the Governor to apologise to Etche people for all the wrongs he has done against them both verbally and and otherwise and refrain from further assaults against our people. If other Etche sons has chosen to turn deaf ears and keep quiet because of political loyalty and sentiments, some of us will not fail to speak up for posterity sake.
I urge Etche people to emulate other ethnic groups in the State and speak up in unison whenever the Governor deviates from issues related to governance to cast aspersions on the Etche ethnic nationality. Etche is as much a part of Rivers State as any other tribe and deserves some respect from the Governor.
April 17th, 2021.