Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has made history by becoming the first Governor in the annals of governance in Nigeria to abolish the concept of non-indigeneship in any State of the Federation. He announced this over the weekend while welcoming a large crowd of non-indigenes in the State who paid him a solidarity visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt.
Amaechi told his guests, all members of the Non Indiegne Political Forum (NIPF), a support group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State: “I don’t believe in non-indigeneship. As far as I am concerned, you are entitled to everything if you have lived in Rivers State for at least five years. We are all Rivers indigenes. If you go anywhere around this State and they are segregating against you, please, call my attention. The reason is that we are all Nigerians and we remain bonafide citizens of this country. The All Progressives Congress (APC) believes that there is need for change because the government in power does not want money to reach you. We need the bottom-top approach for our people to benefit and improve their standard of living.” The Governor also announced the approval of a bus for the NIPF and 20 per cent scholarship for non-indigenes in the State amongst other largesse.
His announcement threw the thousands of visitors into frenzy. It was a challenging day for the security personnel at the Government House as they never envisaged such a crowd which was unprecedented in the history of solidarity visits to the Government House.
A chieftain of the Forum, High Chief Williams Samuel Ubaka, presented the delegation’s address on behalf of the Coordinator of the Forum, Chief Uchenna Okokoba. He told Governor Amaechi: “We are particularly happy with the uncommon transformation of your administration, and especially, in the areas of good and accessible roads, healthcare services, education, particularly, the world-class model primary and secondary schools that have admitted our children on scholarship; we are most grateful.” High Chief Ubaka also thanked Governor Amaechi for employing 20 per cent of non-indigenes during the last teachers’ recruitment exercise, and the appointment of their sons into political offices to pilot the affairs of the state. Like Oliver Twist, the visitors made further demands, among them the provision of vehicles for the NIPF, pilgrimage slots for non-indigenes, implementation of employment and scholarship quota, empowerment and skill acquisitions, as well as reduction of burial fees at the Port Harcourt Cemetery and happily the Governor approved all the requests presented by the NIPF.
In his speech, Rives State APC Chairman, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, said that with the large crowd of non-indigenes supporting both the Governor and APC, the death of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State is now very obvious. Dr Ikanya applauded the Governor for carrying non-indigenes along in his administration of the State, saying that by so doing he has demonstrated to the entire nation that he is a true nationalist and a patriotic Nigerian whose love for all Nigerians is no longer in doubt. Dr. Ikanya boasted that no other government in Nigeria has done for the non-indigenes in any part of Nigeria what Gov. Amaechi has done for those residing in Rivers State. He noted that the Amaechi administration has sponsored a minimum of 500 Muslims to Mecca annually and that he will sponsor 100 Muslims and 100 Christians from APC by this year. He also hailed Amaechi for approving 10 per cent positions for non indgenes in the Ward, Local Government and State Executive Councils of the APC, which he described as unprecedented in the country.
An elated NIPF Leader, Barr. Chuma Chinye, who was moved by the love of the Governor assured him that his commitment towards the welfare of non-indigenes shall never be in vain as NIPF is ready to mobilise all the good people of Rivers State to vote for APC come 2015. Chinye, who is the State Commissioner of Commerce and Industry, thanked the Governor for assuring them that they are now citizens of Nigeria from Rivers State.