Only a Kalabari Governor can do the Trans-Kalabari Road – Kengema Osaki, as group visits Bakana and Tombia Councils of Chiefs

Only a Kalabari Governor can do the Trans-Kalabari Road – Kengema Osaki, as group visits Bakana and Tombia Councils of Chiefs

Only a Rivers State governor of Kalabari extraction can implement and bring to fruition the Trans-Kalabari Road. This view was expressed by Kengema Os

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Only a Rivers State governor of Kalabari extraction can implement and bring to fruition the Trans-Kalabari Road. This view was expressed by Kengema Osaki, a Kalabari political advocacy group when the group visited the Bakana Council of Chiefs.

Addressing the Bakana Council of Chiefs, the Spokesman of Kengema Osaki, Elder Lolo Ibieneye, said that the group is seriously bothered about the devastating decline of Kalabari in the political scheme of things in Rivers State and in Nigeria.

Members of Kengema Osaki with the Bakana Council of Chiefs

“This has never happened since the creation of Nigeria as a country. This is the first time in the history of this country that the highest Kalabari political office holder is a mere member of the House of Representatives. There is no Kalabari person as a Minister, no Senator, no Adviser to the President, not even a Chief Executive of a Federal Government Agency. We managed to have a House of Representatives seat because it is a wholly Kalabari Constituency with no outside interest. This is the lowest Kalabari has fallen politically since independence.

“This is the reason the Chiefs and Elders Council of Kengema Osaki has decided to speak out, not being able to endure the calamity that has befallen Kalabari, we have come to the Bakana Council of Chiefs because the Chieftaincy institution is highly revered by all. You are our fathers, not by age but by virtue of your responsibilities as custodians of our people and our culture. This is the reason we have come to tell you that the extent Kalabari has fallen, is extremely disheartening.

Citing the abandoned Trans-Kalabari Road as an example of the tragedy, Lolo Ibieneye said:

“Let me tell you that despite the huge financial contributions from our oil-producing communities to the government coffers, no governor can do the Trans-Kalabari Road for us except a Kalabari Governor. This is because the cost of the project is enormous and our environment is swampy. A project of that magnitude and importance requires firm commitment on the part of government but it has become obvious, since the road was started over a decade ago, that only a Kalabari governor can guarantee the actualization of the project”.

On his part, the leader of Kengema Osaki, Chief Bekinbo Soberekon said the 2019 Kalabari campaign for the Rivers State governorship is a special kind of war and Kalabari must give it their best to win. He said:

“All past Rivers State Governors had concentrated development in their own areas and among their own people. That is why, despite the proximity of many Kalabari towns to Port Harcourt, these communities have remained undeveloped. Kalabari must vote a Kalabari person in the 2019 governorship election irrespective of political party affiliations. It is time for us to develop the coastal communities in Rivers State and a governor of Kalabari extraction would achieve this. Let’s all move to actualize this campaign. All we need is to work in unison.

“All through history, Kalabari has never lost a battle in which they fought in unity. We should therefore put behind our internal problems and pursue this cause. If we don’t, posterity shall blame us, our children shall curse us” Chief Soberekon concluded.

Also contributing, the Amayanabo of Okpo town and a Chieftain of Kengema Osaki, HRH King Diamond Tobin-West said that every Kalabari person must come out and fight this political battle and that no Kalabari person should feel unconcerned because the entire Kalabari is affected by the prevailing situation.

Emphasizing the seriousness of the task at hand, King Tobin-West said:

“This time we will not allow the political arena to be littered with opportunists who are sponsored by our detractors to frustrate the Kalabari cause. We shall tell such people to step down and step aside and if they refuse, we shall rise as a people to take them on and confront such spoilers, so that the world would know that Kalabari is serious this time around. We shall resist anybody who would come out as a spoiler. We shall go into the 2019 governorship battle with just one person, that person can come from any part of Kalabari but once we are satisfied that he/she has what it takes to go into this battle, we shall massively queue behind that person”.

In its response the Bakana Council of Chiefs, speaking through Chief Jenkinson Bibi Akide commended Kengema Osaki for this initiative, he advised Kalabari to do proper self-examination and put aside internal bickering and unprofitable loyalty to party affiliation. He called on Kalabari to come together in love for this cause and abandon selfishness.

He said “let’s get a Kalabari candidate that can unite Kalabari and develop the entire riverine areas and Rivers State”. He advised Kengema Osaki not to relent in its effort until success is achieved and prayed God to strengthen and protect the group.

Visits Tombia Council of Chiefs …

In a related development the Chairman of the Tombia Council of Chiefs, Alabo Lucas Alaye-Benibo said “Kalabari had more recognition and prominence in Nigeria and in the then Eastern Nigeria”. Chief Alaye-Benibo said this when the Chiefs and Elders Council of Kengema Osaki visited Tombia Chiefs.

Displaying a framed picture of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Premier of Eastern Nigeria and the then Amayanabo of Kalabari, Chief Alaye-Benibo urged members of the Kalabari political advocacy group, Kengema Osaki to strive and restore the lost glory of Kalabari.

Former Premier of Eastern Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and former Amayanabo of Kalabari, King Opubenibo J.T. Princewill

Earlier, the spokesman of Kengema Osaki, Elder Lolo Ibieneye said that in time past, Tombia produced top political office holders in Rivers State and Nigeria not to mention Kalabari as a whole. But today, Kalabari is nowhere.

“This is happening in a Rivers State whose creation witnessed enormous contributions from Kalabari sons like Chief G.K.J. Amachree, Chief Wenike Briggs and Chief P.G. Warmate who worked tirelessly with Chief Harold Dappa-Biriye and others” elder Ibieneye lamented.

Spokesman of Kengema Osaki, Elder Lolo Ibieneye

Lolo Ibieneye said that the Kengema Osaki group had done proper introspection about the current Kalabari political plight and the group has come to the considered position that the solution to the lingering predicament whether it was self-inflicted or not is the emergence of a Rivers State governor of Kalabari extraction. He said the Kalabari governor can come from any Kalabari town.

“We have therefore come to solicit the support of the Tombia Council of Chiefs” He concluded.

Responding, Chief Daye Ikirima-Owuye thanked Kengema Osaki for initiating this quest for Kalabari Governor and that the Tombia Council of Chiefs has received the message with gladness.

Chief Daye Ikirima-Owuye addressing the meeting

Also contributing, a Chieftain of Kengema Osaki, Chief Enenimibo-Ofori Inebiere Bobmanuel said that the quest for a Kalabari governor in 2019 is a beautiful thing. He said the assignment is not too difficult to achieve once we all agree to make it our mantra.

Right: Chief Enenimibo-Ofori Bob-Manuel and Chief Bekinbo Soberekon

“There is nothing the Rivers State government has not said about the Trans-Kalabari Road. But once we put one of our own as governor and after six months, the governor has not started the Trans-Kalabari Road, we shall all troop to the Government House and exorcise the governor of any enchantment.

The Amayanabo of Okpo town and Chieftain of Kengema Osaki, HRH King Diamond Tobin-West and others

“Tin Can Island in Lagos was far worse a terrain than Kalabari land, but today it is what it is”.

Chief Inebiere Bobmanuel called on the Tombia Council of Chiefs to always make their rich counsel available to Kengema Osaki and asked Kalabari people to put aside political party affiliation and support the Kalabari 2019 campaign. “We must be ready to support the party that presents the most capable Kalabari candidate” he concluded.

By Mercy Ibiere Tom-West