Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says the age long relationship between the people of TIV Ethnic Nationality and the State emboldens them to support each other when such situation arises.
The governor said based on that conviction, he visited to offer goodwill and supports of other forms to the Benue State Government when there was massacre of Tiv farmers by herdsmen in that State.
This conviction was contained in a report by Kelvin Ebiri, Special Assistant (Media) to the Rivers State Governor, which further disclosed that Governor Wike stated this when he received a delegation of Tiv people living in Rivers State under the aegis of Mdzough U. Tiv who were led by Mr. Caleb Yashi to Government House, Port Harcourt, on Friday, 27th November, 2020.
The leadership of Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organisation worldwide accompanied the delegation of the TiV people.
Governor Wike said people of both states also bear similar weight of the several shades of marginalisation meted against minority tribes in the country, which has continued to feel the call for a restructuring of the country.
“I felt that what affects you also affects us. So, when that massacre took place in TiV land, we believed that anybody in TiV land that dies, an Ikwerre person will have to commiserate with that particular family.
“That was why we decided to go and see my colleague and friend the governor. Whatever we did that time, we believed it was because of the strong tie we have together.
“I know what my colleague, the current governor passed through. I thank God that Benue people rallied round him to give him the necessary support.
“Now, if you look back and remember what happened that period, you’ll know that there is no way you’ll not constantly say that this is the time to restructure this country.
The governor, noted that the Tiv people have not caused any problem for the state government and urged them to continue to live peacefully with people of their host communities.
“In this State, you have not made any problem here. We know that the Tiv people are warriors, and very strong. But this is not the period of war. It is time of peace when everybody has to live together.
“Rivers State is a place that is very accommodating. We accept everybody to stay with us peacefully. It is only those who want to rename Rivers State that I have said, I will not agree.
“Nobody can rename Rivers State. As per living peacefully, we have good relationship with all ethnic nationalities that live in Rivers State.
Addressing the leadership of Ogbakor Ikwerre cultural Organisation Worldwide, Governor Wike urged them to continue to ensure that Ikwerre people work together always.
Governor Wike said contract for the dualisation of the Eastern Bypass Road has been awarded as part of the urban renewal programme and it is for the people of Ogbunuabali Community to allow the work to extend to their road because of the overall benefit it will attract.
He noted that there is already a resistance from the community, and the leadership of Ogbakor Ikwerre need to talk to them to accept the development that is much better than the more rents they collect from the commercial stores.
Governor Wike also informed that the nearby swamp will be sand-filled to provide a space for the people of Nkpogu community to have their social activities.
Leader of the TiV delegation, Mr. Caleb Yashi said the Ikwerre and the TiV people have shared common friendship for years, which started when Governor Wike was elected Deputy National President of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) with a Benue man as the President then.
They also noted that besides, the Tiv people were allowed to display their dance during Ogbakor Ikwerre day, Governor Wike showed enormous love when he visited Governor Samuel Ortom to commiserate with him when herdsmen killed Benue farmers.
They also appealed to be considered for partnership when the Rivers Cassava Processing Company begins full operation, as farmers who can feed the mills with their produce.
On his part, the President General of Ogbakor Ikwerre Cultural Organization worldwide, Prof. Emeka Wami said they led the TiV people to Government House to see him because they considered him as a strong voice championing the cause of the minorities in Nigeria.
He particularly commended Governor Wike for the manner he handled the crisis that erupted in Oyigbo Local Government, which was in the best interested of the state and the country.