Abonnema, My Nyemoni, My York City, My Pride, My Roots By Annkio Briggs
My heart bleeds for you, and l wonder why you? Do your people know your value?
How did you become the pawn in this fight for a Riverine Governor? How and why are we victims of this fight that requires blood and flesh instead of dialogue and wisdom?
I believe along with all true Riverine daughters and sons that we should have had a riverine Governor since 1999 but we gave it away (who do we blame?).
I am not a politician but l remain interested in politics. I grew up and was raised in a family where my father, and uncles were in politics since 1960 to date. Politics and l are not strangers.
In 2014/2015 l was very truthful and factual about my position that after Rotimi Amaechi the governor should be a riverine governor, while not denying that the Ogoni people had a right to it. I was not afraid to say so.
I also did not deny that the then Minister of State for Education had stood with my Ijaw and Niger Delta kith(sic) and kin and my Bayelsa brother, the President of Nigeria when it was critical and it was needed.
When the chips were down for us as Ijaw people, Minister Wike was there. When even Ijaw people, across the Niger Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta States were against Jonathan, Minister Wike was there.
Yes it was said then and even today and no doubt tomorrow that Gov Wike stood with Jonathan because he wanted to be Governor(sic).
Personally l do not(sic) think so. l believe that things just went that way because they were meant to. I may be wrong, but the fact remains when President Jonathan and Mrs. Jonathan needed someone, Minister Wike was there, and the final decisions in 2015 belonged to them not me.
When the decision was made l had no political positions at stake for me or my children or my siblings or friends to fight for, but l thought it was not fair. My objection was based on the principle of riverine upland dichotomy.
I had nothing against Minister Wike, he is my younger Rivers brother, whom l had known since he was the LGA chairman, Chief of staff and eventually minister of state of education. We had mutual respect for each other and still do.
No matter the reason, he stood with President and Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan.
He did what l had done since 2007 because l believed it was the right thing to do for our region and people. When it emerged that he will contest for the governorship ticket on the PDP platform l knew l could not accept it, that as a Rivers State Ijaw l believed the riverine should get the ticket.
Though l have always stood with President Jonathan and his wife, (my brother and my sister) l did not accept their decision for Rivers state, but l never withdrew my support for them till date.
When President Jonathan kept his word to himself, Niger Deltans, Nigerians and the world that his political ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian and accepted defeat even when the count was ongoing he averted the flow of the blood of baboons and dogs.
I decided, not through anyone else’s influence but mine to stop my opposition against Minister Wike’s ambition to govern and decided to support Governor Wike.
My support for Gov Wike was unsolicited and remains unsolicited.
I refuse to support strangers and some Ijaws who in collaboration with strangers internal and external brought Jonathan down and stopped a Niger Delta president with our resources.
These people who were proud to bring Jonathan down and out in 2015, and did not want an Abonnema riverine Governor then cannot tell me 4 years later that they love Abonnema more than l love Abonnema.
Just about 18 months ago l was approached by the 4 yearly ‘we must have a riverine governor’ as far back as then till today l made it clear that though l am in full support of the emergence of a Riverine Governor l did not and still do not(sic) believe that this is(sic) time to fight the incumbent governor for the governance of Rivers state.
I will agitate for a Riverine governor in the future, not now. As painful as this decision is after much consideration and after consultations l believe that the Rivers Ijaws are capable of strategising, and working towards the governance of Rivers state in 2023.
I will work with other Riverine People, and all other indigenes of Rivers state to achieve this goal for 2023. This decision and plan l can live with because it is my decision.
If other Ijaws and Abonnema people refuse and go ahead to fight this battle l can only say good luck to them.
This is my decision; l will defend my decision and work to achieve my decision.
Abonnema, my heart hurts for you. I love you Nyemoni. Most of all l am so proud that l am your daughter. Nyemoni my love, my tears are for your soul.
What have you done to deserve this negative exposure?
I woke up one morning 62 years ago at 4 years old and found me in Abonnema, from that day to this today l have loved you with all my heart. l have been proud of you, played by the water front, while my father tinkered with engines for his boats.
How have you been so, impoverished, so disrespected that foreigners, strangers and haters of Abonnema claim to know what is best for you, claim to have the powers to choose for you what is best for you and what is worst for you?
I remember how my primary days were spent in Nyemoni Primary School, Abonnema, (built by my grandfather for Abonnema).
l remember when l was taught how to ride motor bike and drive a speed boat in the rivers, creeks by my father before l went off to secondary school in Port Harcourt.
I remember the marks my father showed me between Owusara and Abonnema wharf to let me know when we were approaching each island big and small.
I see in my heart as Abonnema disappeared as we head for Port Harcourt, l recall how homesick l got even before Abonnema disappeared and Port Harcourt got closer.
I recall how excited l got as the days grew closer and eventually arrived and we headed back to Abonnema.
How my grandmother, your mother would scold you for teaching me boy things, engine and boat things, when you will sneak me into boats and teach me how to paddle, how we went hunting in the forests of Abonnema and Obonoma.
I remember we went fishing too… the trips to the ocean. Who wants to disrespect the Abonnema they will never know?
There were things my siblings and l sneaked and did like playing the games of aru fin, (boat jumping) swimming, periwinkle picking, etc.
I grew up in a rich and affluent Abonnema, beautiful, in tradition and culture.
In Abonnema that was proud, where l never saw a beggar… in Abonnema that protected Abonnema. In Abonnema that protected and loved Abonnema.
Who are these people tearing Abonnema apart? For what? Politics, what Politics?
Nyemoni my love for you will never die, l will stand up for you, l will defend you, protect you and remain proud of you. As long as one true Abonnema descendant loves you live.
Nyemoni you know your lovers and your haters, love your lovers and hate your haters. Expose and deal mercilessly and unforgivingly with all that hate you and pretend to love you.
All descendants of Nyemoni why will you let Abonnema become the ridicule of Kalabari Kingdom, of Ijaw Nation and of Rivers State?
You will never be able to undo the damage you want to inflict in Abonnema.
Nyemoni remember your sons and daughters who are planning to unleash violence in Abonnema and spill blood in Abonnema.
Every daughter and son of Nyemoni have a right to serve Abonnema, Kalabari and Rivers State, but not for selfishness, greed or evil.
Can any Abonnema son or daughter walk into any community in Rivers State and make political decisions for that community? NO!
How and why can a son or daughter of another community come to Abonnema and tell us who will be who from Abonnema?
We have always had great sons and daughters from Abonnema, we still do and will continue to have great sons and daughters, what has happened that has opened Abonnema up for disgrace, and ridicule?(sic)
It should not matter which of our sons or daughters will ever represent us, Kalabari, Ijaw or Rivers state as long as he or she is of Abonnema stock but it matters a great deal when Abonnema is too political to make that choice, and allows that choice to be made by anyone or people who are not Abonnema stock.
We are ridiculed today; how did we get here?
We are free born enough to belong to any political party, but not to sell Abonnema to a political party in Abuja, led by people whose aim is to destroy Abonnema, Kalabari, Ijaw, Rivers state and Niger Delta. Everyone belong somewhere, Abonnema belongs to Abonnema and we are in Rivers State.
Twenty years ago and this is a historical fact, l have chosen not to mention names as the people concerned know themselves.
Well known living and some unfortunately no longer with us, Rivers Sate indigenes brought PDP political party to Rivers state after Abacha’s death. Nigeria was getting ready to have another shot at democracy after decades of military abuses.
The military released a man from prison and made him the president, he has a hand in the political mess Rivers State is in today.
If there was ever a time the Kalabari people could and should have used the political platform to negotiate an Ijaw ( a riverine governor) of Rivers State it was in 1999.
That Riverine People have not produced a Governor since 1999 is as much as the fault of the Riverine people in charge of our politics as it is any other reason.
Power is powerful, and as powerful as power is, when you willingly give it away for whatever reason the first blame must stay with you when you fail to get power back.
I don’t claim to love Abonnema, Kalabari, Ijaw Rivers state and Niger Delta more than anyone else yet l will not allow anyone to tell me they love my community, my people, state and region more than me.
In 2011, the Governor(sic) of Rivers state, an Ikwerre man, was returned for another 4 years tenure; during that tenure the minister of state for education was Ikwerre.
In 2015,(sick) the present Governor, an Ikwerre man, won the election, and the Governor(sic) who served an eight year(sic). tenure during 2007 to 2015 was appointed the Minister of Transport.
If he stopped hating Kalabari people specifically Abonnema people, after his success at removing Jonathan as he vowed and promised his strange friends, why did he not handpick an Abonnema son for the election of 2015?
And if he loved the Kalabaris and specifically Abonnema people then as he claims to love us more than we love ourselves why did he not nominate an Abonnema son for the portfolio of Minister of Transport?
It is not only a lie but hypocritical to want to use Kalabari people to fight a personal fight but of also(sic) selfish and greedy politics. Indigenes of Abonnema and all other Kalabaris are credited with wisdom, when then did wisdom become alien to the Abonnema men and women of today?
Proud and unshakable daughter of Abonnema
Nigerian environmental and human rights activist