Rivers crisis isn’t ethnic but twisted politics – Wenenda Wali


The National Leader of Unity House Foundation (UHF), a good governance and social justice advocacy group, Kingsley Wenenda Wali, has said that the current crisis in Rivers State should not be given an ethnic undertone as being insinuated by certain persons in some quarters.

In a statement issued on Saturday in Lagos to correct the wrong impression that the crisis is a war between the Ikwerres and Ijaws, Wali, a Port-Harcourt-based businessman, social crusader and peace advocate, called on Rivers people to collectively rise against such evil thought, while maintaining that “all the ethnic communities (in Rivers) have suffered the consequences of violence and bad governance.”

Worried about the chaotic atmosphere and needless tension being created in Rivers, the UHF helmsman said those determined to divide the people must be resisted.

The statement reads: “Several years ago, Brother Malcolm X talked about how the Whiteman’s biggest merchandise was – and still remains, violence. And that the assassination of John F. Kennedy, was simply a case of the chicken simply coming home to roost.

“Just like the Whiteman, the ascendancy of the bitter godfather to power was enmeshed in violence. He was sustained in office by the combination of violent rhetorics and actual violence. Eventually, he was ushered out of office in a gale or wild-wind of violence.

“So, for anyone to attempt to suggest that this is ethnically motivated violence, to my mind, is the height of drugs inspired idiocy and stupidity. Certainly, I will not gratify such ignominy by even thinking that they are lazy thinkers.

“I’m a bonafide and proud Ikwerre man. With all sense of humility, I am a Wali and we have a long history of free spiritedness and civilization. When I speak, I speak from experience and the knowledge that Rivers State has largely been ruled by rural and vindictive folks, who are on a vendetta against their history.

“Ikwerre people are generally egalitarian and very much at home with their guests, neighbors and rivals. We fear nobody and respect everyone who has earned and deserving of respect.

“A few years back, an Ikwerre son insisted that it was unfair for Ikwerre to hand over to Ikwerre, but prominent Ijaw people insisted and murderously foisted another Ikwerre son on Rivers State. Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife are Ijaws, and the world knows how much of ijaws they were in 2015.

“Also, I don’t need to remind us that in defense of an Ikwerre candidate, lives were lost in the Ijaw town of Abonnema, as an Ijaw governorship candidate won’t be allowed into his Ijaw hometown in 2019.

“Everyone in Rivers State, including the supporters and friends of the godfather, know that this is all about politicians and their ambition to become the Tinubus of Rivers State and South-South.

“The Ijaws and Ikwerres have lived in harmony and have no plans to stop being loving neighbors. They know that politicians have their disagreement albeit desperate type, and will never allow politicians to hoodwink them into becoming enemies.

“The truth is that Rivers State will outlive PDP and APC. These warmongering politicians will pass too. It’s a phase that will not become who we are. I’m sure that they will be wondering where our staying power is coming from. They have killed Marshall Harry, A.K. Dikibo, Charles Nsiegbe, Christopher Adube and some members of his family, yet Rivers people are not cowed. And they will not be cowed.

“I’m calling on all Rivers people of conscience, to rise against the evil thought that any ethnic community has decided to deliberately oppress another. All the ethnic communities have suffered the consequences of violence and bad governance.

“None of the governors have had the mandate of his people to oppress others, rather the bad rulers have only been bad because they are influenced by their pedigree. Nobody send them, na them send themselves.

“We must collectively turn our backs against the evil people who are determined to divide us and destroy the Rivers spirit and our story. Let’s join hands and reclaim our state, because RIVERS WILL REMAIN GREAT ONLY IF WE DO OUR BEST. WE CAN DO IT AND WE MUST DO IT…….ONLY IF WE TRY.”