Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has joined his Delta State counterpart Ifeanyi Okowa and former Delta State Governor Chief James Ibori, to call on Niger Delta leaders to unite for the rapid development of the geo-political zone.
The Rivers State Governor, who is also a co-chairmam of the PDP Reconciliation Committee spoke on Saturday, 9 September, at Oghara, Delta State during a meeting with former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori and the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa at the Former Governor’s Residence, adding that unity is needed in the geo-political zone to check the current situation where outsiders take advantage of the disunity of the area to deny the people benefits of their resources.
Governor Wike said: “Niger Delta must continue to be United. Whatever it takes, unity is still very key. When we are divided, outsiders will come and exploit our resources to the disadvantage of our communities.
“We have to fight to protect the interest of the Niger Delta. We draw strength from people like Former Governor James Ibori, a man who has variegated experiences”.
The Rivers Governor further noted that Rivers and Delta States are cooperating in the spirit of Niger Delta Development.
“We must work as brothers. We must work as a team. We must not allow our United front to be divided” , he said.
Commending Chief Ibori for his outstanding contributions to the development of Delta and the South South region, Gov. Wike said: “I want to tell our leader, Chief Ibori, that all you passed through, we identify with you.
“We are happy that despite all, God has kept you alive. God has not finished with you and that is we are here to show solidarity with you.
“Niger Delta must continue to be united. We must not allow people from outside to divide us,” he said
In his welcome remarks, Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori commended the Governors of Rivers and Delta States for their cooperation on developmental issues.
Chief Ibori, who is fondly regarded in the Niger Delta as the father of ‘Resource Control’ agitation, urged both governors to work towards building a stronger United force for all the Niger Delta States.
“I want to commend the governor of Rivers state for his vision and for the cooperation, collaboration and friendship that he has developed and is growing between him and my governor, Senator Okowa.
“I commend the spirit because that alone sends the signal of unity and a common purpose of our state and our people.
“I will like to add that both Governor Wike and my governor should continue and extend that to all the other states of the South-south geo-political zone.
“At the end of the day, we need to be united to be able to serve our people better.
“We have to cooperate to work for our people. I have watched from a very vantage position and I have seen all the efforts that you have put into the service of our people and it is only God that can bless you.
“As I always say, at the end of the day, we will all leave office someday, it is what you do and what you leave behind that will be your legacy. And I’m glad that you are on the path to greatness.
“I want to assure you that you have my cooperation at all times. Feel free to call on me if you need me for anything.
“I may not be able to do much as you all know I am retired now but whatever contributions I can make, whatever advice I can give given my experience, I am prepared to do it 24 hours a day,” he said.
He said: “We need to be United to be able to serve our people better. We have to cooperate for the good of our people.
He then commended the developmental efforts of the Rivers State Governor, urging him to do more to sustain his impressive projects delivery to the people of Rivers state.
In his own remarks, Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa said the Rivers State Governor is a grassroots politician who is providing effective leadership for his people.
Okowa who, according to some discerning Delta watchers, may have whole heartedly embraced and facilitated the strange and unexpected meeting and even cashed-in on the burgeoning influence of Governor Wike both in the PDP and in the region, to amongst other issues, launch a peace parley and douse what was gradually becoming a frosty relationship between him and his former boss in recent times, spoke in that vein when he clearly affirmed that in Delta State, the political class is under a political family led by the Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, even as he emphasised that the Niger Delta needs to work together for the geo-political zone to be a stronger political voice in the country.
Okowa said: ” We will continue to sustain the friendship between our states, based on the interest of our people as this will undoubtedly bring greater development gains to the region.”
Governor Wike was accompanied on the visit to Oghara by a high powered delegation including, Former Acting Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, Senator Lee Maeba, Former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Austin Opara, Former Minister of Sports, Dr Tammy Danagogo and the Administrator, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Ambassador Desmond Akawor.
Also Present from the Delta State end was Senator Peter Nwaobishi, as well as Senior associates of the Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori, including the PDP S/South zonal chairman, Elder Emma Ogidi, who himself was Delta PDP Chairman when Chief Ibori was Governor of Delta State.
The meeting later went into a closed door session.