Chairman of the Integrated Niger Delta Congress (INDC) and Managing Director, Nidro Oil and Gas, Don Pedro Ibanibo spoke with EDITH CHUKU in this interview where he examines the disposition of the riverians in Rivers state politics as well as their expectations from Governor Nyesom Wike.
Governorship position in Rivers State has become the inheritance of the uplands. Does that mean the riverine people have no credible candidate or they are not ready for governance?
That question is no joke. I didn't know you were going to come from this angle. The truth is, we the riverians have been far, far, far, in fact, very, very far behind in terms of Rivers politics. It's nobody's fault. We kept ourselves in this position which am very sure the upland has enjoyed and is enjoying. Tell them it will expire in 2023. The reason we are behind was caused by us, the way we positioned ourselves in the previous politics that was played has created a serious setback on us. Indeed, we have not been lucky enough to produce a governor but we will, it has been settled spiritually, socially, physically, superstitiously, supernaturally, widely (laughs). The only time we have made a reasonable attempt was in 1999. We were very close to producing a governor in 1999. We have learnt our lessons, and we are going back to the drawing board.
Have you settled that with the political godfathers in Rivers state? Do you think Wike will allow that?
No, I like that young man so much; he is a dogged leader, straight forward, disciplined and most importantly, he has a very interesting forum for Rivers State. We trust him to take us to a height above our dream. He is a project governor. We are more than certain he will and then there is no debate about 2023. None. Ask him.
How much has the Riverians benefitted from past governments seeing that it's been an upland business all this while?
Nothing tangible for now, but we believe in Governor Wike. We want him to give us Trans-Kalabari that will wonderfully position us on the corridor of business, infrastructure, good politics and good education.
And you are convinced Wike will not fail the Kalabaris like His predecessors did?
Yes, I'm sure. It might interest you to know that former president Olusegun Obasanjo did not develop his place. What of the immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan?
They could not develop their own place, most times it is a stranger that will want to do so to score points. What of Adams Oshiomhole? The road to his place was built by someone else. It is no mistake for Wike to do the Trans-Kalabari even if he doesn't complete it, we the Kalabaris trust him, he will surely start it.
So, what happened in his first four years?
(Cuts in) Trans-Kalabari was not part of his first term projects, it was not but now it is. And we are confident, expecting nothing less.