The Ikwerre Ethnic Nationality refers to the Ikwerre people of Nigeria. We are in Rivers State and occupy four local government areas namely Emohua, Ikwerre, Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt. We are the largest ethnic group in the state as at today, with over 2.5 million heads. Ikwerre owns Port Harcourt which hosts most operational bases of the giant oil and gas companies in Nigeria. Before colonialism, an average Ikwerre consumes well above twenty (20) dollars per day. We were a rich people. Today, we are poverty stricken with about two (2) dollars for daily survival.
Nigeria’s 2015 election is here and Ikwerre’s interests should not be ignored or sacrificed any longer. Ikwerre’s national interests include the aspiration for the preservation of her environment for her sustenance forever. Again, her mineral resources should be developed for her well being and recreated forever. Ikwerre’s human capital should be developed based on her talents; in this case Ikwerre educational system should primarily seek to discover, equip and grow Ikwerre talents into business to provide services that should resolve Ikwerre development challenges. Ikwerre needs industrial estates at Woji, Rumuolumeni, Ogbakiri, Emohua and Rumuekpe. Ikwerre needs entertainment and sports renaissance such that her traditional music and sports will not become extinct. A people without their own entertainment lack real happiness and organic social harmony. Who can imagine and quantity the social cost of a London without football? Ikwerre needs infrastructure that could facilitate these major development aspirations: but what she has been having from politicians is building uncoordinated, unrelated and misplaced infrastructure. This anyhow-building of infrastructure has become the major election issue because that is what the Nigerian politician understands as development. What a shame! Ikwerre development goes beyond infrastructure alone; it is about the consistent improvements in who we are and what we have under our mastery and control. When this happens, the manifestations of underdevelopment (unemployment and youth idleness, too much agitations and youth militancy, poverty, pervasive indiscipline and corruption, poor political leadership, exclusive economic policies, abuse of ethnicity and religion etc) will be significantly reduced.
Meanwhile, the campaigns have centered on hate speeches, personality attacks and infrastructure. This makes me feel that either our politicians do not understand what politics is all about or they deceitfully decided to take the wrong selfish path to politics. Ordinarily, Politics is about how to achieve and sustain interest. The interest peculiar to the coming elections in Nigeria is national interest; hence we are interested in national politics. National politics is about seeking public office and creating and servicing the common good. But communal good is the building block with which national good is built. Communal level is the immediate constituency of the politician. Therefore communal interests are critical because they remain the bedrock to national interests. Ikwerre as an ethnic group constitutes that immediate constituency of the national politics and it is on this basis I am soliciting to know which Ikwerre interest is the political party in Nigeria ready to achieve for Ikwerre development?
Since the political campaigns for the 2015 Nigerian election started, I have been listening very attentively to the political parties if any of them would clearly state what Ikwerre people should expect from them if they come into office. Honestly none of them has told Ikwerre in clear terms what to expect from the party if it comes into power. There is therefore every need for the Ikwerre people to interact with every Presidential and Governorship candidate from all the parties, to determine what they would do for Ikwerre if they emerge winners. It is just like President Goodluck Jonathan has promised the Yoruba that he would implement the report of the last National Conference.
I am saying this so that when the time comes, none of them will casually say to Ikwerre people: “I am not an Ikwerre President, I am President of Nigeria; or I am not an Ikwerre Governor, I am Governor of Rivers State”. That ignorant statement has been made to the Ikwerre people before and we are not prepared to have it again. Therefore, Ogbakor Ikwerre Convention (OIC) and Ikwerre Development Association (IDA), need to engage the politicians now; not after they had come into office.
The background to this thinking is that in every political entity which comprised of diverse ethnic groups, the groups must extract promises from the politicians for the attainment of the group’s aspirations. When and where this was not done, the politicians would quickly capitalize on that vacuum and begin to present pseudo promises they would not implement and cannot be held responsible thereafter.
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