An ally of the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, Prince Emma Anyanwu, has blasted the leader of the Movement for Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Ralph Uwazuruike, on his attack on Wike, over his administration’s demolition of two hotels in Rivers.
Anyanwu, an elder statesman, who is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Tuesday in an online statement, asked the MASSOB leader to leave Wike alone, thereby concentrating on his Biafra Republic’s agitation and face-off with the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Uwazuruike, in a viral video, called Wike unprintable names, for supervising Sunday’s demolition of Prudent Hotel, Alode, Eleme and Etemeteh Hotel, Onne, both in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers, for flouting his government’s directive on the closure of hotels in the state, to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
The MASSOB leader, who hails from Imo state, also threatened to mobilise his teeming supporters from within and outside the Southesst zone to Port Harcourt and its environs, to make Rivers ungovernable for Wike, thereby leading to the declaration of a state of emergency in the Niger Delta state.
Anyanwu, however, stated that the outburst of Uwazuruike only brought back sad memories of the Nigerian Civil War, between 1967 and 1970.
He noted that the MASSOB leader’s outburst showed that he had no regard for Rivers governor, stressing that he spoke as if Rivers state was an appendage of an “illusionary” Biafra Republic.
While stressing that many people had lost sense of history, the PDP chieftain declared that it was difficult to forget the inhuman treatment from some overlords, who acted the scripts of Biafra leaders during the three-year civil war.
He said: “The outburst of one Ralph Uwazuruike is not only disturbing, but a sad reminder of the ill treatment some Igbo leaders meted out to the people of the old Port Harcourt Province, when one of them was the Commander of the Biafra 14 Division and another a Brigade Commander at Umuahiagu in the now Ngor/Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State.
“The people of old Port Harcourt Province, who acted as their hosts, were tagged as saboteurs during the Civil War and ended up being dehumanised by the overlords. The creation of the old Rivers State on May 27, 1967 by the then Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, brought the state as a federating unit in Nigeria.
“It is therefore surprising that Uwazuruike, who was earlier declared wanted and a fugitive, would come out to insult and challenge a man Rivers people cherish, our able son, Chief Nyesom Wike, for the good works he is doing for his people.
“Rivers people have since 1970 tried to ignore the past and are living in peace with our friends and neighbours of Igbo extraction.
“As an elder, I want to plead with the good people of Rivers State to ignore the action of Uwazuruike, who is seeking attention and not acting on behalf of the Igbo, during this trying period in our nation.”
Anyanwu also reiterated that the laws governing Rivers were products of the state’s House of Assembly and not those of Imo state, declaring that it was ridiculous for the MASSOB leader to insult the performing governor of Rivers, who swore an oath to protect lives and property of residents of the state and whom he said had carried out the responsibility so well.
Wike’s ally also noted that with Rivers governor serving the interest of Rivers people, no resident of the state would condemn his actions, especially on the protection of lives and property, the cardinal act of governance, as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
On the demolition of two hotels in Eleme LGA, the elder statesman pointed out that persons who failed to obey the rules and laws of governance had faced punishments stipulated in the laws.
He said: “Last Sunday’s demolition of the two hotels in Eleme LGA of Rivers State is an example of the actions and inactions of leadership. A leader is not worth his salt, if he does not defend and protect the laws of the land.
“What Governor Wike did was merely to protect and defend an existing laws. So, the focused governor should not be blamed for serving his people well.”
Demolition of the two hotels attracted condemnation across Nigeria, with many prominent leaders, including the representative of Rivers Southeast Senatorial District between 2011 and 2019, Senator Magnus Abe, and a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, describing Wike as a dictator, who had been governing with impunity.
The owner of Prudent Hotel, Alode, Eleme, Promise Gogorodari, an indigene of Rivers state, who spoke through the telephone from his Lagos base, also condemned the demolition of his hotel, which took him seven years to build, while insisting that his hotel did not disobey Wike’s total lockdown order and that he never asked PDP’s youth leader in Eleme LGA, Princewill Osaroejiji, to attack members of the Rivers taskforce on COVID-19.