Why Non-indigenes in Rivers State may not vote (2)

As the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has added one week to the initially one month voter registration exercise, it is imperative that all Nigerians involved in making sure that the elections were successful. Especially, those in Rivers State should eschew self-destruct, indigenous factionalism, but work together, in indestructible solidarity.

Rivers State needs sincerity of purpose to actualize the ultimate goal of a future nobly Rivers State. This can be collectively achieved if collective-determination, human rights justice, and survival of all in the state come to play and be the priority of importance. Discrimination is selfish, parochial and diabolical. These, do not serve any meaningful purpose.

There should not be any further indigenous stranglehold on Rivers State, but all should focus on the future of the state.

Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State should never allow himself or anybody he knew, by omission or commission, to be accomplice of segregation between the indigenes and the non-indigenes. Segregation against the non-indigenes is tyrannical. It portends grave consequences that could overwhelm the capacity of the future of the state and Nigeria. Segregation is not good!

The National Point newspapers of 04/15/08, had a caption titled: “10,000 Non-indigenes to be sacked from Rivers State Civil Services”. This sent unprintable tension in the affected non-indigenes. According to the paper: “Tension is mounting in the Rivers State Civil Service following the allegation of many employment of non-indigenes in the civil service.”

Very sad! The report had it also that the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Rivers State chapter, aided the Rivers State Government to the hounding of the non-indigenes out of the state, forgetting that some of them were born in Rivers State and had lived in it for over forty years now.

“The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Rivers State chapter have commenced a campaign to fish out the non-indigenes within the civil service for the state government to take action. It was alleged by the state labour union that an estimated 10,000 non-indigenes are working within the Rivers State civil service,” the paper had reported. This was happening in the state that prides itself as the Treasure Base of the Nation?

What is then the Treasure in the Nation, if according to the paper; some indigenous civil servants claimed that the development was responsible for the unemployment of qualified indigenes of the state? Even the Rivers State governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi reportedly geared up to set up a panel to investigate the allegations and call for a verification exercise or staff audit?

It will be good Rivers State re-visits the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, where many aggrieved Rivers indigenes were reconciled. This also could act as an effective strategy for dealing with the heinous dichotomy against the non-indigenes in Rivers State. The mentioning of a sack of any non-indigene, let alone, non-indigenes in public offices in the Amaechi-led Government of Rivers State was insecurity-incisive capable of causing protracted crisis because of the imminent human rights abuses on the non-indigenes.

Rivers State should be thinking about the process to heal the perceived soured relations between the indigenes and the non-indigenes by opposing to any iota of negativity by uncovering all pertinent facts, and distinguishing truth from lies. Rivers State must allow for forgiveness and healing, irrespective of one's state of origin.

The non-indigenes in Rivers State should be allowed to have focus on the eco-socio-pol lives in the state, and should not be made victims of sectional stately arrogance.

The non-indigenes should be allowed to be witnesses and even perpetrators in the publicly policies that go round in the state and tell their stories without fear of prosecution. Any act that causes resentment and tension to peace, security and harmony of a people in any given society is autocratic and criminal.

If Amaechi was transparent with his setted Truth and Reconciliation Commission, why has non-indigenes been appointed commissioner in the state three years after he ascended the governor's diadem? Even that this issue had been thrown open to him through the media.

Governor Ameachi's desire and commitment to end the crisis in the State that led to setting that reconciliation commission, the non-indigenes in the state should be allowed to enjoy genuine peace, security and harmony to participate in the affairs of the State and move the state forward. The indigenous dichotomy must stop!

“No nation or state can meaningfully develop under the present situation in Rivers State,” a social critic once wrote.

Maybe, as no non-indigene s vocally opposed to the reconciliation commission that was why it looks as if there were/are no aggrieved non-indigenes in the state who may have suffered prejudices in the hands of the indigenes and the state.

Governor Ameachi should not pinch his shoes only when it matters to the affairs of the indigenes alone, non-indigenes should not be made recluse in the state that they pay tax in and have their wards pay school fees.

Is it that Governor Amaechi is opposed to non-indigenes in the state and loves his fellow indigenes, even when most of his people refer to him as “unselected Governor”?

But non-indigenes had always referred to such comment from well-known Rivers indigenes as total disrespect to the Supreme Court, being the highest court of law in the land, on whose verdict of 25th October 2007 pronounced Governor Amaechi as the elected Governor of Rivers State. Such statement to an indigene lacks understanding of fundamental principles of law and justice, let alone, if Amaechi was a non-indigene.

Amaechi should always recognise the fact that the Supreme Court didn't throw justice to the wind, even if that it wanted. So, he must not throw justice to the wind. He is a beneficiary of justice today and the will power of people; majority, non-indigenes.

In Rivers State, non-indigenes laboured for Governor Amaechi and are still labouring for him. But instead of benefiting not only in his government, they were thrown away to be scavengers in the dust bins, whereas indigenes flourish.

It was justice that compelled the Supreme Court not to go through the back door or deny Governor Amaechi his mandate, apart from the fact that he was a popular choice of the Rivers State residents. Furthermore, majority non-indigenes fought wisely for him, but they had for long been sidelined in the government for the indigenes to chop. From non-indigene clergies to the common non-indigenes on the street fought for Amaechi and are strongly behind Amaechi.

Let the indigenes not be using the different languages they speak in Rivers State as a yardstick to abuse the rights of the non-indigenes. Schism and cleavage among themselves should stop. The race and desire to occupy Brick House should stop being fierce and tense, always. The indigenes who had always occupied all the socio-eco-pol lives of the state, why was/is the hob of youth militancy, restiveness and kidnapping in the Niger Delta is in Rivers State?

The foregoing goes to show that the non-indigenes in Rivers State had always been peace-loving, if the indigenes will accept this fact. However, it is time to speak one language, which is truth. The disaffection against the non-indigenes should be looked into, if their votes count in Rivers State. The indigenes should avoid discontent, insecurity and differences among themselves, which have been extended to the innocent non-indigenes.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere