Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, on Saturday denied disrespecting the state’s traditional rulers, but only trying to uphold the traditions of the Rivers People when he admonished them to always carry their staff of office.
The governor also claimed that he had a deep respect for traditional rulers because they play a critical role in the development of the state.
The governor, who stated this at the installation of a former minister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo, as the Head of Achin War Canoe House of Kiniju Town and admission as member of the Okrika Divisional Council of Chiefs, at National Field, Okrika, regretted that some politicians in the state had continued to play politics with the traditional institutions.
”I have great respect for traditional rulers because they are critical to the development of our State.
“It is regrettable that some politicians always want to play politics with the traditional institution. I am the only governor who has always declared open their quarterly meetings. It was not so in the past”, Wike said.
According to him, he had always insisted that traditional rulers in the state promote their respectful ethnic nationalities
He said: “When I urge the traditional rulers to promote Rivers culture, it is not aimed at disrespecting them. We must promote our own culture. We must show we are Rivers people.
“Those playing politics with the traditional institution were the ones that balkanized the traditional institution in the state.
”What I said is, carry along with your staff of office, which distinguishes you as traditional rulers. Our traditional rulers must prove at all times that they are not second class citizens.”
It will be recalled that a Wike, in a video that went viral online, was seen reprimanding some traditional rulers for not coming to the council’s meeting with their staff of office.