Rivers 2023: Benard Mikko Receives Royal Blessings From Gokana King

…Amid Pomp, Pageantry

The chant of ‘governor!  governor!’ rent the air as former member of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benerd Mikko walked gracefully towards the majestic palace of the Gbenemene of Gokana Kingdom, King Paago-Bagia on Monday.  Clad in an all blue native attire with a fitting black cap, his horde of supporters sang and danced along as he waved.

The visit to the palace of the Gokana King was part of consultations kick started by Mikko, a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC).  The course had taken him to various stakeholders in Ogoni land, including royal fathers, captains of industry, youths and women groups.

As the frontline governorship aspirant walked into the warm embrace of palace officials, he was greeted with a handshake from the Gbenemene Gokana, HRM, King Paago-Bagia.

Penultimate Tuesday, he had unveiled his mission statement which was widely published in both social and conventional media across the globe.

“I have offered myself to be Governor of Rivers State not as a supreme leader of the multi ethnic state with a population of over 5m people, but as a humble servant that will collaborate with the various cadres of traditional, cultural, social and political leadership that will define our collective priorities for the allocation of the resources for development and economic growth.

“My vision for Rivers State is to harness our resources for urgent and balanced development and economic growth, and not the acquisition of power for aggrandizement and brigandage.

“Our state is largely littoral, with water everywhere but none clean and safe to drink. I will work with you to provide clean, safe and potable water for all; instead of champagne for a few. Our development plan will entail a modest program for security of both life and property, occasioned by the anxieties and schisms created by political campaigns of non-existent geographical dichotomies, ethnic profiling and racial epithets within an otherwise peaceful and united Rivers people.

“We will rigorously tackle the problem of urban blight, particularly the environmental degradation and the hazardous air pollution that has turned our traditional garden city into an unfortunate garbage city and our natural heritage an endangered ecosystem.

“The acid rain and black soot that we are forced to contend with in past few years is a clear evidence of environmental terrorism meted out on our people, while all efforts of seeking redress and remediation as recommended in the UNEP report had not been adequately addressed.

“As we yearn for cleaner environment, comprehensive family health care system will be introduced to tackle maternal and infant mortality while also enforcing public hygiene and modern health care protocols.

“Our Educational systems will be rejigged to produce graduates with relevant technical and entrepreneurial skills that will create jobs and address our social problems and not turn out ineffectual graduates that will merely explain the societal problems rather than dominating and solving them.

“In doing this, our administration will be anchored on the voluntary obedience of the rule of law and social values with the engagement of traditional institutions. Our judicial reform will be inclined to social justice with the consideration of non-custodian sentences to decongest and improve prison conditions and reduce costs.

“As we begin the journey of reclaiming our state with consultation with our major stakeholders, delegates and party faithful, I appeal that you see this initiative as a significant source of hope to forge unity and prosperity to our people at home and in the Diaspora.

“For far too long our people have been in the political Limbo. I enjoin you all to join hands with us to bring back our state to work for everyone again to the Glory of God Almighty.

“It is in this respect that I humbly declare my intention to contest for the office of the Governor of Rivers State in the 2023 general election on the platform of the APC”, those were his words.

As the pomp and pageantry in the palace simmered down, Rt. Hon. Mikko addressed the Gokana King: “His majesty, I am here to tell you and members of your council that I have taken up the challenge to me by our ancestors that I should start the journey.  And now, I am beginning some of the phases of the journey.

“By the time we get this governorship of Rivers State, we must lay a foundation.  For those growing up, this action and the actors would become the envy of Ogoni.  The controversy we are in today is just because of the resources God has given to us to feed us and the entire Nigeria”.

He was later decorated in native red Ishiagu and a feathered hat to match.  He was ushered to a chair next to the King and on his waist, hung a sword tied to a skinned belt.  And, as the palace guards escorted him outside, he lifted the symbolic sword of a warrior, and busted into a dance as the drummers intensified the beat.


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