By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that his administration will empower traditional rulers to participate in the initiation, implementation and monitoring of projects and programmes in rural communities.
Speaking during the Traditional Rulers Day as part of the Rivers Golden Jubilee celebrations in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Governor Wike said that traditional rulers are critical in the government’s development agenda for the grassroots.
He said: “We shall soon come up with a viable framework to empower our traditional rulers to participate in the initiation, implementation and monitoring of development policies and programmes at the grassroots.
“We are doing all these because we believe that traditional rulers are the best partners to translate our plans and aspirations for the grassroots into reality.”
The governor said that the state traditional rulers have over the years played important roles in the peace and development of the state.
Governor Wike said: “We have no doubt that when the history of Rivers State will be written, the sacrifices and contributions of the traditional institution towards building a peaceful, united and prosperous State will be lined in gold prints.
“Apart from being the custodians of our cherished cultures and traditions, traditional rulers also exert immense political authority over their subjects.These traits make the traditional institution indispensible tool fordriving socio-economic development, especially at the grassroots.”
He said that the creation of Rivers State is a product of years of conscious struggles for self-determination by heroes of the state. He said Rivers people suffered untold deprivations and disregard from the country’s majority ethnic groups.
Governor Wike said: “For us, 27 May 1967 was Liberation Day. Ever since, we have had the autonomy to preside over our local affairs, pursue our aspirations and direct our collective destiny by ourselves.
“That is why we are inspired to celebrate our Golden Jubilee and use it as a platform to project into the future. As we look back, we must appreciate the tremendous achievements we have made as a people in the past 50 years.”
In a keynote address, Guest Speaker and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar said that the Traditional Rulers Day of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Rivers State is significant as it brought together traditional rulers from all the country’s Geopolitical Zones, with the prospects of fostering unity.
He said that from his observation, Rivers people are happy with Governor Wike and his development efforts.
He called for collaborative efforts amongst the traditional institution to bring out the best in their subjects.
The Sultan stressed that the solutions to the problems of the country should be generated from within.
Chairman of the occasion and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi expressed happiness that the Rivers State Government is celebrating traditional rulers for their roles to the growth of the state.
Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja said that actualization of the creation of the state was made possible by the contributions of Traditional Rulers.
He said that traditional rulers have the capacity to collaborate with the State Government to consolidate on development in the rural areas.
The Traditional Rulers Day witnessed the traditional dances, traditional photo exhibition and drama.