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Watch Gov Wike insult traditional rulers during a meeting

Rivers Governor Wike mocked traditional rulers for their choice of dressing and everything in between.

Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike humiliates chiefs (Punch)

Wike, who was responding to a request from the Chairman of the Rivers State traditional council on the proliferation of non-recognised traditional rulers, soon launched a tirade and harangue which left the monarchs sufficiently ridiculed.

“It’s not for you to take it (staff of office) and go and keep it in your bedroom or put it in your shrine, for those of you who worship various shrines.

“It’s for when you are coming out for official function, you come with it. That differentiates you from any other chief. Some people call themselves ‘Royal Highnesses’ when they aren’t recognised by government, but you also carry a walking stick that is meant for other people who are not recognised by government. I want to tell the Attorney General so that we propose a bill to the State House of Assembly that if you are not a government recognised traditional ruler, you don’t bear ‘Your Royal Highness,” the governor said.

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When his audience made to cheer Wike’s remarks on steps being taken to make traditional rulers duly recognised, the governor scolded them yet again.

“Stop clapping. You are being selfish. Stop clapping. It’s the right thing to do. It’s not because of you because you won’t be there forever. It’s to protect the institution. So, don’t clap because you are there now.

“This year we are going into will be a serious year….stop shaking your head because that’s sycophancy,” Wike stopped mid sentence with his gaze panning to one traditional ruler. “You...stop shaking your head. You are one of those causing problems. They gave you chieftaincy but you are a young boy so you don’t even know what to do with it. And then when I’m speaking you are shaking your head like this.”

This particular monarch would soon be ‘dragged’ for his choice of attire and compared to the 17th century founder of the Sokoto caliphate.

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“All fake! Fake!!. You just go and wear something that is bigger than you...when someone is looking for power. You’d think he’s an elderly person. Very small young man, this boy. I know when I was in school, he was running around us, going on errands. Now he’s wearing Usman Dan Fodio. Then he begins to breach protocol. He thinks when he’s shaking his head like this, I'd be happy. That’s fake...that’s fake ....”

The clip has since gone viral on social media.

In his reaction, Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dakuku Peterside, told Wike to stop humiliating monarchs.

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Peterside who contested the Rivers governorship election with Wike in 2015, begged the monarchs to overlook the disrespect handed them by the governor, adding that as fathers, they should regard Wike’s utterances as those of a ' child who lacks home training’.

“Wike’s penchant for embarrassing our traditional rulers is becoming irresponsible and shameful. Never in our history have we had such a disrespectful governor. Since 2015, Wike has sacked, deposed and withdrawn recognition from many royal fathers without any recourse to history, tradition and culture.

“Not too long ago, the governor threatened to depose the Amanyanabo of Kalabari, King Theophilus Princewill, just as he has severally lampooned others as if they are his servants. The governor must be called to order by well-meaning Rivers people and other Nigerians. He is turning himself into a feudal lord and an emperor at the same time.

“History is replete with his likes that ended up badly, after turning themselves to tiny gods," Peterside said.

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Responding through a statement issued by his Commissioner for Information and Communication, Paulinus Nsirim, Wike said Peterside is only seeking political relevance “through a jaundiced interpretation of a mischievously edited video.”

The statement added that Wike was only “responding frankly to the address of the Chairman of the Rivers State Council of the Rulers wherein the chairman requested that non-recognised traditional rulers should be checked by him. The governor directed the Attorney-General to prepare an executive bill to resolve the issue.

“He went ahead to urge the monarchs to always attend government functions with their official staff of office, following a formal request by the monarchs.

“For Peterside to attempt to use a frank discussion between the governor and the monarchs to seek relevance is a confirmation of the total rejection that he suffers with members of his party. As a political toddler who is being breastfed, Peterside still relies on mischief to remain relevant. He goes about paying social media cheerleaders to cast aspersion on the governor on the premise of a manipulated video.

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“We understand Peterside’s frustration following his loss in 2015. But he cannot climb the political ladder on the premise of needless falsehood and mischief.”

An abrasive character with an acerbic tongue to boot, Wike's take on issues and leadership style have often been criticized across board.

In 2019, the governor warned that Rivers is a Christian state, a remark that was considered divisive at the time.

Wike also recently accused governor of neighboring Bayelsa, Seriake Dickson, of sabotaging the opposition PDP in the region and making moves to officially defect to the APC.

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Dickson and Wike are PDP members.

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