Chief Tony A. Chuku is the traditional prime minister of Woji Community and vice chairman, Woji council of chiefs and elders in Rivers State. In this session with EDITH CHUKU, he examines the role played by Rivers people to return Governor Wike for a second tenure, the violence that characterized the election, security challenges in the state and Nigeria at large, expectation from governor Wike in his next four years, among other issues.
On May 29, Wike will be sworn in as governor...
(Cuts in) Yes. That's right, that's victory, victory not just to Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, but to Rivers people mainly. Like the Bible says, the people rejoice when the righteous rules. So it's victory to Rivers State and Nigeria at large. It's a victory we anticipated because nothing can challenge God, no one. You can only boast of your physical and financial strength but everything in this world is controlled by the Supreme Being, that's God. Wike won the election, Rivers people are celebrating because it is the will of the people. Like I will always tell you, you cannot convince a blind man that bitter leaf water is 5alive or Hollandia, once it gets to his tongue. Rivers people knows that Wike has done very well, they know that Wike has proven to be a talk and do leader, they know he represents their interest, so his return is not a surprise, it's expected. The reward for hard work is more work. We need him to stay in what he has started, to stay to the finish. So, what made anyone think he will not be returned? See, in this case, the angel you know is better than the devil you don't know, so stick to the angel. We are all happy that the will of the people and God has prevailed. So, come May 29, my governor, your governor, our governor will be officially sworn into authority.
The will in question, does it include the death of innocent citizens who went to cast their votes and never returned to their family, corps members who were working as INEC ad hoc staff and never lived to take home their certificate to their parent?
Hmm. It's so unfortunate, so very unfortunate, we are still wishing and hoping for an election in Rivers state and Nigeria at large that will be recorded crisis free and even the blind knows it's actually crisis free, no snatching of ballot boxes, devoid of election malpractices, kidnapping, shooting, riots, tribunal cases. Election in Nigeria that electorate will hear results from their wards, units and nod in concurrence to it. We are praying and hoping for it so badly.
Rivers state seem to have recorded more death?
My dear, these crises happened everywhere, but that does not mean I should overlook or congratulate Rivers state for recording same. The problem lies on the youths, children whose ambition and crave for sweatless wealth. They always forget that those they are taking orders from have children who do not even mingle with them, they can't even come one on one with. I weep when I see youths with bright future laying their vision, ambition, talent, future on politicians' feet for peanuts. If youths in Nigeria will stop criminality, then heartless politicians will learn to play a violence free politics.
Why these crises?
lash of interest, party differences, hunger for power, money thirst, illiteracy, unemployment, wrong upbringing and so on.
Who is to blame for the kidnapping, killings, shooting, malpractices in Rivers state, especially during and after elections?
Everyone. Parents for the poor upbringing of their children, peers who influenced these children negatively, the society, pastors who have deviated from righteousness to preaching wealth all the time, corrupt security personnel who supply weapons, bullets, politicians that use and sponsor these guys; teachers that have failed to instil discipline, government that cannot provide employment opportunity and enabling environment for business to strive, the youths that are not ready to work but want to chop, they don't want to plant but they are ready to harvest, those who have more than enough and yet can't help those needy in the society, the media that is commercial driven so cannot use their platform to campaign and preach against crime. Everyone is to be blamed, everyone.
What difference will Wike make that Rivers people will be glad to have returned him?
First, am happy for your statement, Rivers people will be glad to have returned him, which means he clearly won the election.
But, whichever way he will be returned on May 29.
Yes, in fact for us in Rivers state, he has been returned because the young man did not go on break, he is still working. Saying he has started working will suggest he stopped but he is still working. Wike has been and is still working, Rivers people returned him and will like to return him again the third, fourth, fifth time if it's possible because the guy came prepared to work, not to play politics with Rivers state.
So, what difference will he make this time?
The difference he is making this time is to continue to make the difference he has been making all these years of his political career, creating opportunities for Rivers people to strive, good road network, employment opportunity, business initiatives, investors coming into Rivers state, renovations in all sectors, youth empowerment, among others, he has been on the lane of making a difference. So he will continue on that path. I am sure of it, nothing less than the best for Rivers people.
Let's talk about the security challenges in Woji community
Well, first, let me extend gratitude to security authorities who have been up and doing to ensure the security of lives and properties of the Woji people; also the Woji youths for their support in tackling security issues. Like you can see, Woji is fully a business area and if there is threat to people's lives and property, people will run away, businesses will shut down. Landlords will lose their tenants. That is why I want to use this medium to task our security operatives to do more to ensure that lives and property of Rivers people are not jeopardized. They should not relent these hoodlums are asleep in the day and very much awake at night, They should please not relent.