Dr. Dakuku Peterside, governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Rivers State has visited Bonny Kingdom, his ancestral home, ahead of February 2015 gubernatorial election.
Peterside, who was received by Amayanabo and Natural Ruler of Bonny Kingdom, King Edward Asimini William Dappa-Pepple, Perekule xi and Chiefs-in-Council commended the traditional rulers for the rare honour of cutting short their annual vacation to receive a son.
“My fathers, I thank you for this honour. For me, this is home coming of sorts. My father and traditional ruler, HRH Alabo (Professor) Dagogo M.J. Fubara has already laid the foundation, reminding you that for some reasons, my family left here about 1869 and settled in Opobo. I am sure that we are among the very few families who did not voluntarily leave but were compelled by circumstances to leave. That is history, but we are not here to talk history. A statement of fact is that this is my home, this is my origin and nobody can deny me that right.
Responding, King Asimini William Dappa-Pepple described Peterside as a worthy son whose visit inspired an extraordinary session by Council of Chiefs.
“Were it not for the fact that you are a son of the soil, I am sure that Council will not be seated here today. As usual, Council closes every year in November and resumes February. We have to do this, of course to honour you and to make sure your programme goes according to your plan. And so, we are here to honour you today knowing fully well that you are a son of the soil.
“I want to thank God for today. I also appreciate my chiefs. Listening to you, I was tempted to ask you to tell us what you will do in Bonny but because you are my own, I will not be asking these questions because I know you will still have to come back to me”.
Briefing the council on his agenda for a greater Rivers State, Peterside emphasised the need for people of the state to exercise caution and to be diligent in choosing who eventually becomes governor next year because according to him, the stakes are high.
“Your Majesty, by the grace of God, in February next 2015, the people of Rivers State will choose a new governor to succeed your son and brother, the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. It is not going to be an easy decision; it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. The reason is that the office of the governor has enormous powers.
“Your majesty, I believe that the right place to commence such a very important journey is home. The reason is that there is an Ibani version of an adage which says “a child must start showing signs of whether he will be good or bad from the home. And that if a child is good, it starts from the home”.
“That is why today, I have come home Sir, to inform you, Your Majesty, my King, my progenitor and ruler, that your son is about to embark on a race to take Rivers State to a greater height. That your son is putting himself forward among many others, to be chosen by Rivers people to govern the state next year. And that your son will be bearing the flag of not only APC but that of Ibani Kingdom also.
“And that I cannot be embarking in this race as ambassador of Ibani nation without seeking your special blessing, which is the reason I am here.
“Our founding fathers laboured, toiled and made sacrifices. We have made a lot of progress too but we are not where we are supposed to be. Several years ago, the situation was worse than it is today but with the contribution of leaders like your good self and some of our political leaders, we have accomplished some mileage but there is so much work to be done”.
The APC candidate who was accompanied by some traditional rulers from Opobo and Nkoro, used the opportunity to speak on his roadmap to a greater Rivers. He presented his blueprint and policy-trust on education, security, economic growth, human capital development, poverty alleviation, tourism, health care, agriculture and transportation, among others.
He rounded off his speech by restating the need for the people of Rivers State to vote wisely by ensuring that they vote in only those with capacity and demonstrable proof of performance.
“We can choose to move Rivers State forward and make her the envy of other states or do otherwise. I believe the choices are very clear. There are many political parties presenting candidates for the guber race but for those who are discerning, there are only two options. The first is to choose the part of responsibility, a government that fears God, a government that listens to the yearnings and aspirations of our people, a government that can make decisions on our behalf with every sense of responsibility, knowing that we have donated our power to them. And a government we can trust. The second option is to choose a dictator who will decide for us what is good for us. A dictator who will enforce his will at every point in time.
But I don’t believe this is going to be a very difficult decision for our people to make”.