By Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt
The governor urged traditional rulers to cooperate with operatives of the Agency to ensure that they succeed because the operatives are largely nominees of traditional rulers.
Addressing the royal fathers during the 108 and 109 general session of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers on Monday in Port Harcourt, the governor said: “The neighbourhood watch arrangement will soon be fully operational throughout the state to complement the efforts of the security agencies in the detection and prevention of crime and improve the security of lives and property in our neighbourhoods.
“Let me remind you that the corps members were recruited based on your attestations with regard to their character and suitability. Consequently, we will hold you accountable to the performance of the corps and the success of the scheme in your local government areas, communities and neighbourhoods.”
The governor urged the traditional rulers to shun partisan politics as getting involved in politics will reduce their social relevance. He wondered why a first class traditional ruler would be involved in partisan politics with the aim of undermining the state government.
He said: “If you don’t respect your stool, you will have challenges. Withdraw yourselves from playing politics. If you don’t withdraw yourselves, I will withdraw you. If you take sides, I will also take sides”.
The governor charged the traditional rulers never to allow any politician to breach the peace in their communities during the forthcoming campaigns.
He said: “We expect the political parties to play by the rules and embark on peaceful and issue-based campaigns. But you must be on the look-out to ensure that no person or entity violates the peace of your communities under the guise of political campaigns.
“At the end of the campaigns the votes of our people are very important and we expect the INEC to conduct free, fair and credible general elections that will enable our people to freely determine their political direction and destiny. Here again, you also bear individual and collective responsibility to mobilise your subjects to collect their permanent voters cards and vote for the candidates of their choice.”
He urged the traditional rulers to lend their voices in condemnation of the neglect of Rivers state by the APC federal government.
“It is time you lend your voices more forcefully to the neglect of the state by the federal government, the devastation of our environment by the oil companies, the grand fraud and deception in the Ogoni clean-up exercise and the call for economic justice and fiscal federalism”, he said.
In an address, chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, appealed to the federal government to revive the ports in Rivers state to create employment opportunities for the youths.