• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Fubara dethrones Wike’s man as Rivers’ traditional council chairman

20240623_131443_0000

…Sergeant Awuse out, Worlu Wodo in

Again, former governor and FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, seems to have lost power in another strategic sector, the traditional council as Governor, Sim Fubara has made good his promise to rejig the Rivers State Traditional Council.

In doing so, he has just removed a powerful Ikwerre royal father, Sergeant Chidi Awuse, once known as the bulldozer of Ikwerre politics, as chairman of the council and replaced him with another Ikwerre royal father, Chike Worlu Wodo.

Fubara had been pelted with questions during his one-year anniversary town hall meeting over the non-functional council and the long absence of the chairman, Awuse. The governor responded by observing that it was not good for a man to speak in the day and deny at night. Many understood it to be the positive remarks the former chairman made about the new governor only to go home to renounce it. Many said he must have been berated by the former governor in the early days of the present Rivers conflict.

A cross section of members of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers during a special meeting of the council with the State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, at the Government House in Port Harcourt Friday.

Fubara promised to do something soon so that life could return to the council in the face of dormancy where the grassroots needed leadership.

The Fubara announced the paramount ruler of Apara Kingdom, the Eze, Wodo, as the new Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers following the alleged inactivity and the absence of effective leadership of the council under the Eze Ohna, Awuse.

Governor Fubara made the announcement at a special meeting he had with members of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers at the Banquet Hall of the Government House in Port Harcourt Friday.

Wodo is the Paramount Ruler of Apara Kingdom in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the State.

The Governor, in announcing the new chairman, terminated the appointment of the Paramount Ruler of Emohua Kingdom who, within his statutory one-year tenure as chairman, allegedly failed to steer the affairs of the council aright, and unable to promote cordial relationship among members and with the State Government.

Governor Fubara pointed out that, under Awuse, the council produced a calendar for the year 2024, and insulted the State Government by deliberately refusing to include the photographs of the Governor and the Deputy Governor.

Such posture, Governor Fubara noted, among others, clearly demonstrated that the council under that kind of leadership had not, and would never, live up to expectations.

He said, “I want the council to live up to its responsibility. From my observation, the council is moribund. So, I can feel that the council, for a while now, has been very inactive. Inactive because, maybe, the chairman has decided not to be responsible as a chairman. I think that is the best way to describe it.

“I am not talking about other things that have been happening. But I feel there are responsibilities of the chairman, and so far, I have not felt it and you can also attest to that, that you are not seeing that leadership that you expect.

“I want to ask you: does it show any sign that, that leadership is working with this government? I hope you have a copy of it (the calendar) ? Does it show that your chairman is working with this government?

“So, I have decided today, we have to move forward. By the special grace of God, the administrative life-span of the chairman is one year, which is renewable. So, at this particular time, I have to say that with the power vested on me, I announce that the tenure of Chief Sergeant Awuse has been terminated.”

Governor Fubara said, at such critical time of his administration, when peace is cardinal with traditional rulers, who are closer to the people, not properly coordinated, it will be difficult to achieve the required harmony and coexistence among the people.

The Governor pointed out that there was need to have a more competent and diligent traditional ruler with the presence of mind, and ability to carry everybody along, stressing that Wodo most appropriately fits into that cap, with a fatherly personality, mature character, integrity and pedigree.

Governor Fubara clarified that Eze Apara Kingdom can also access every traditional ruler, elicit their cooperation and be able to provide the needed direction that the council dearly needed.

“So, going forward, there is need to have a leadership that will accommodate everybody and move this council forward.

Governor Fubara said: “Traditional Rulers are the closest to our locals. If you want peace in the community, we must work with the traditional rulers. And our government is a government that pays serious priority to peace. So, I want everyone of you to ensure that we maintain peace in our localities.

“Let me request from our new chairman that: please, as we leave here, there is every need for you to call for meeting immediately and commence the process of uniting the council.”

Governor Fubara recalled how a former governor in the State had sternly warned a traditional ruler in Ahoada East Local Government Area during a public event but added that he would not take that route.

Instead, the Governor said that his approach would be, as a respecter of elders, rather appeal to all traditional rulers to ensure cooperation with the State Government.

Governor Fubara said, it is such cooperation that will ensure the peace in your domains, notwithstanding your political inclinations, and will foster a stronger and united Rivers State.

He said, “I am not bothered or interested in your political affiliations, but when it comes to issues of the council, that should bring you together, your decision should and must flow in the direction of government.

“If you are doing anything outside, that is your own, but you cannot, I repeat that when it comes to the issues of the council, government has given you recognition to belong, you cannot go against the government, it’s very wrong.

“You can be in whatever it is, but when it comes to our own interest as a State and Government, you must work with our interest. I remember when we went to Ahoada-East, in Ekpeye land to perform an activity, a former Governor openly threatened one of you, and warned that if you try it, I will do this, I will do that.

“But I am not going to warn any of you because you are our fathers. I will appeal to you to please give us all the necessary support and cooperation so that we can have a united State that everyone of us will be proud of.

Governor Fubara assured of addressing the issues of making available official vehicles to the traditional rulers, and other allowances due them soonest.

The Governor also urged the new chairman to commence the process of updating the record of all First Class, Second Class and Third-Class traditional rulers in the State, and make it available to his office next Tuesday.

In his acceptance speech, the new Chairman said he was overwhelmed with joy for the opportunity to serve the State in such capability.

Wodo pledged that he will foster unity, devote his time and energy to the assignment given to him, and work in synergy with every member of the council to ensure that there was peace within their various domains.

He also assured the readiness of the council to synergise with the State Government to maintain peace and harmony in the communities so as to fast track the development of the entire State.