Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has called on traditional rulers from the South-South Zone to work in unity to drive development in the geo-political zone.
Mr Wike made the call on Tuesday in Port Harcourt when he hosted the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba Akpolokpolo Ewuare II, who was on a courtesy visit to Government House.
He also called on South-South traditional rulers to work with the governors in the zone to chart that require developmental interventions.
Mr Wike said: “The traditional rulers from South-South should work together to advance the development of the region.
“The Oba of Benin and the Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom should not be second class to anyone.
“Our traditional rulers must not be relegated by anyone. We should not see ourselves as second class citizens.”
The governor also urged leaders of the South-South to stop militants from determining the choice of monarchs.
“Militants should never dictate what happens in communities. I am talking about traditional leadership.
“These days, you see people of no consequence coming forward to determine who becomes a traditional ruler because they carry guns. We must perform our roles and functions,’’ he said.
Mr Wike also said there would be synergy when traditional rulers from the zone interact with their governors.
“When we interact, you point out areas where you require the governors to develop and we can synergise for the good of the zone.
“We will work together to move the traditional institution forward. We also need the support of the traditional institution for the development of the zone,” he said.
Mr Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) called on the Oba of Benin to find a way to resolve the political feud between Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo and his predecessor and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole.
“I want to humbly call on you to wade into the political crisis in Edo State. Though you are not a politician, it is necessary for the feud to be resolved. Please find a way to address the issue,” Mr Wike said.
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He also commended the Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, for supporting the Benin Traditional Council.
Earlier, Ewuare said his visit to Port Harcourt was in line with the tradition established by his late father.
“Following the footsteps of my father who came on a thank you tour after his coronation, we recall with nostalgia my father’s public service in Ahoada many years ago. Port Harcourt, and Rivers State is indeed a second home.
The Oba of Benin said his visit was aimed at strengthening friendly and close relationships between the people.
“I am here to strengthen the friendly relationship and close affinity of our people. History has it that some of the tribes here trace their ancestry to Benin. These include the Ikwerres, the people of Ahoada and Omoku,’’ he said.
He added that he was also in the state to meet with other traditional rulers to influence the process of development.
“I will meet with the South-South monarchs who were present at the coronation so that we can share ideas with them on ways of strengthening the traditional institution in Nigeria and ensure the development and wellbeing of our people.
“We would like to use this opportunity of this visit to appreciate the cordial relationship between the good people of Edo State and the good people of Rivers State,’’ he said.
He extended a special invitation to the government and people of Rivers to participate in the celebration of the Igue Festival.