By Emmanuel Obe
A governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Mr. Soloabo West has said that the riverine communities of Rivers State have for too long been politically marginalised.
West, who spoke on a Wazobia FM pidgin English programme on Friday said that since the return of democracy in 1999, the upland part of Rivers State had been kept out of the governorship of the state.
He said 20 years is long enough period to sideline a sizable proportion of the population that have a stake in the state.
And he said the unfortunate thing is that those keeping power in the upland state were not even ready to discuss its rotation.
He said though he acknowledged the merit in the Ogoni struggle to also produce the next governor of Rivers State, the Ogoni claim is also tied to the upland hold to power which has denied the riverine areas a shot at the governorship.
He said the riverine areas were being treated like outcasts. “Small time we go run enter ocean , enter shark belle, say we no from Rivers State that we from waterside,” he said.
He likened the uneven power balance in the state to the posture of a man carrying a jerry can of water in one hand. “E go dey waka one kind, bend bend,” he said, stating that it is such an awkward sight.
However, West said power rotation was not the only reason why he was wrestling with Governor Nyesom Wike for the ticket of the PDP in the state.
He said he has the education and exposure needed to drive development in the state and is putting his services before the people of Rivers State to use.
He said if given the mandate, he will take healthcare to unreached communities where maternal and child mortality was rife.
West disclosed that he had come under immense pressures from people questioning his decision to take on the governor for the PDP ticket.
The aspirant, who is a lawyer, is running with equity as his slogan.