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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 on Thursday November 23, 2017.
Addressing the Bakana Council of Chiefs, the Spokesman of Kengema Osaki, Elder Lolo Ibieneye, said that the group is seriously bothered about the decline of Kalabari in the political scheme of things in Rivers State and in Nigeria.
“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 just a 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 why 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 affiliation. 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. Continue reading