It Is Time For Rivers People To Unite – Dike

Dr Dike

A legal practitioner and Energy Law Consultant, Dr. Samuel Chisa Dike  is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law of Rivers State University, Port Harcourt. He says the Golden Jubilee celebration of Rivers State should be seen as a healing balm and a time for Rivers people to unite.
Fifty years down the road, it has been ups and downs in Rivers State. But above all, I will say glory be to God that we are alive. That we are united and that God is on the side of Rivers State. If you compare Rivers State with some states that were created in 1967, both in terms of human capacity development and infrastructural development, you can conclude that Rivers State has fared very well. Before now, Rivers State was called one of the educationally disadvantaged states. Before now, Rivers indigenes travelled to University of Nigeria, Nsukka in the Eastern State, University of Lagos in Western State to attend university. Today, we are proudly domiciled. We proudly have three universities here, one federal university, the University of Port Harcourt and a state university, Rivers State University and another one, University of Education. We also have tertiary institutions; all these institutions are no second grade institutions. They have developed both in terms of research, knowledge and in terms of infrastructure.  So, I can say educationally, Rivers State has moved even beyond its peers. Infrastructure wise, there are networks of roads. Before, it used to be gridlock everywhere but a lot of roads have been opened by the former administration and the present administration. The present administration has improved on the work of the former administration and things are moving; and that shows that government is a continuum in terms of infrastructure.
And socially too, Rivers State people are more aware and more conscious that united we stand, divided we fall. There used to be upland/riverine dichotomy. But today, that lexicon has been consigned to history. The Kalabari man sees the Ikwerre man as his brother. The Ikwerre man sees the Kalabari man as his brother. The Ekpeye man and the Ogoni man are the same. So, there is unity. Therefore, the celebration of 50th Anniversary of Rivers State is timely; to encourage us to work harder for a united state. I think this is the right time to celebrate. And I will join to celebrate because I am alive to see this day. Every conscious and responsible Rivers man should unite and celebrate. And I want to see this celebration not just as a mere jamboree. The government of the day should see it as a template to unite all the groups, whether APC, PDP, GNPP or whatever name because celebration in disarray will not help us. Let us unite together as brothers. Politics will divide us but we are one. Let there be nothing like politics of bickering. Killing of your political opponents should be consigned to history. We should use this celebration as a healing balm for all the political class created since the creation of Rivers State, and then, unite all the forces, centrifugal forces; and unite everybody so that we can move the State forward.
We need Federal Government’s presence in Rivers State to support the activities of the Governor of Rivers State. And so, there must be unity. One person cannot do it all alone. There must be cooperation between the arms of government. The judiciary needs the legislature. The legislature needs the executive. So, there must be unity. The federal needs the state. The Armed Forces need the civilians. The civilians need the Armed Forces. There must be unity. The NGOs need the government. The private citizens and the industries need to work together to move Rivers State forward. And this is where I stand. Chief Nyesom Wike being Governor of Rivers State during this Golden Jubilee celebration is providence. It could have been anybody. He should see it as an act of God and thank God as he has been thanking God. True to type, he is not resting on his oars. He is doing his best to ensure that Rivers people are feeling the impact of governance. Virtually all the roads today are very neat, well paved; no potholes and he is bringing governance closer to the people. And it is significant because he himself is a child of circumstance. Nobody would have given it to an Ikwerre man considering that an Ikwerre man was there before. And today, it is an Ikwerre man that is at the saddle of leadership. So, it is providence. We should all exploit it. It also shows that Rivers State has gone beyond primordial sentiments. They gave it to the one who can deliver. We need the man who can deliver and the Governor has proved that he can deliver. And so everybody should support him.