Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike on Thursday accused his Bayelsa State counterpart Governor Seriake Dickson of “sneaking” into River State to cause disaffection under the pretense of visiting the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus J.T. Princewill.
The governor, who spoke during a solidarity visit by the Kalabari people to the Government House, Port Harcourt, warned the monarch against allowing himself to be used to promote divisiveness.
He said it was regrettable that the Amanyanabo of Kalabari allowed his palace to be used by the Bayelsa State governor for a sinister motive.
The governor said: “You can see how people are trying to divide a state. A fellow Governor would come from somewhere to create division.”
According to him, the Bayelsa State governor, who professesed love for Ijaw people in Rivers State, has been busy working to take the state’s oil resources in Soku and Kula.
He said: “Already, we have gone back to court in relation to Soku oil wells. This is the man who is claiming Kula oil wells and Soku.
“I have gone back to court and we will reclaim the Soku Oil Wells for Rivers State. This is the same man you claim loves you and you roll out drums against protocol.”
Reiterating that the Amanyanabo of Kalabari will be sanctioned “if he continues the acts of division”, Wike said: “If any of such things happen again, I will take the necessary action. I will not listen to any further excuse, that is why I am saying this publicly. Tell him to respect constituted authority.
“It is not good for anyone to come and divide Rivers State, because the state is one. It is unfortunate what my colleague did. I handed him over to God and prayed for God to do his will.”
He commended the peace initiative of the Amanyanabo of Abonnema and urged other royal fathers to emulate him.
“I thank the Amanyanabo of Abonnema for his peace initiative. I urge other traditional rulers to emulate him. Work towards peace amongst your people. You cannot live where there is no peace.
“It is impossible to have governance without peace. So, you need peace in your domain.”
The governor urged the Kalabari leaders to prevail on King Princewill against yielding himself a willing tool for external forces to create disunity in the state.
He said: “I want to publicly lay a complaint on the action of Amayanabo of Kalabari. The next time it happens, I will act as a governor. The Amanyanabo of Abonnema didn’t do it, he called me on phone when the governor of Bayelsa, Dickson tried to create problems in Rivers State.”
According to him, the Bayelsa governor visited the state without getting in touch with the relevant authorities, under the guise of coming to see Ijaw people.”
Wike said: He (Dickson) said he was coming to see Ijaw people in Rivers State and he would be hosted by the Amayanabo of Kalabari and Amayanabo of Abonnema.
“The Amanyanabo of Abonnema called me and said how can that be? The Rivers State Governor did not call me. The Amanyanabo of Kalabari did not call me. What he did was to roll out drums to receive the Bayelsa State governor.”
He threatened that should the Amanyanabo of Kalabari take such illegal action in future, he will face sanctions.
“That day I would have removed him, but I held myself. What they would do is to go to Radio and abuse me. But I am used to insults. I am trying to complain to you people,” Wike said.
But the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Information, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, declined comment on the allegation against his principal, who was said to be away to Abuja.
The Amanyanabo of Kalabari, who is a former Chairman of the Rivers Council of Traditional Rulers and a first-class monarch, could not be reached Thursday for comment.
His son Prince Tonye Princewill said that the monarch was receiving treatment in an undisclosed hospital in Port Harcourt, the state capital, according to Prince Princewill, a former governorship candidate and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in a telephone interview from Abuja, shortly after he left Port Harcourt, doubted if the governor actually threatened to sanction his father.
He said: “What is wrong in my father, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom, receiving in his palace (at Buguma-Kalabari, the headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State), a fellow Ijaw man, who is the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson?”