Prof. Tam David-West
Prof. Tam David-West

As the controversy over who owns Soku oil wells deepens between the Rivers State Government and the Bayelsa State Government, Former Minister of Petroleum Resources and rights activist, Professor Tam David-West have warned President Goodluck Jonathan who is from Bayelsa, to leave the controversial oil wells in Rivers State, the known historical owners of Soku.

Professor David-West also averred that the people of Kalabari kingdom(Soku is part of Kalabari land) are prepared to fight the Presidency over the ceding of Soku oil wells to Bayelsa State at every level, stating that no part of Kalabari Kingdom will be allowed to be ceded to any other part of the country. He revealed that the Kalabari oceanic communities of Kula, Soku, Idama, Elem-Sangama and Abisse have been existing for over 300 years of Kalabari history in Rivers State.

20140118-091335.jpgDavid-West disclosed this Friday when he led a delegation of Kings, Chiefs, Elders, youths and representatives of the Occeanic Communities of Akuku-Toru local government area in Rivers State on a solidarity visit on the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in Port Harcourt.

According to him, “I thank you, Governor Amaechi particularly on what you have been doing for the Kalabari Kingdom. Unfortunately, some of our brothers and leaders don’t understand this. I know what you are going through. But, why should an Ikwerre Governor be sacrificed, for saying that, don’t take away Kalabari Communities from Rivers to Bayelsa State. Kalabari people need to go round such person and carry him high. When Nnamdi Azikiwe came to Port Harcourt, I remember, we carried him and I think, every kalabari person should be carrying Amaechi high to replicate the kind gesture. I learnt of a new word for the Oceanic communities in the Kalabari Kingdom, those are the original Kalabari settlements. So, the Oceanic communities are older than, Buguma, Abonnema and Degema. The communities called, Oceanic communities have been existing for over 300 years of Kalabari history, and over the years, our forefathers fought to maintain the integrity of the Kalabari kingdom. And, any one that is dismantling it now, whether from Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto or Bayelsa State, will never succeed. Our ancestors fought also with Canon guns to protect these territories, but, at this time, we have other implements to fight the struggle.” David-West said.

Continuing, he also explained the attempt by some Kalabari chiefs to sign a secret document to cede the Oceanic Communities to Bayelsa state as a ploy to distort facts that have genuine historical antecedents since the period of the colonial era.

David-West said, “Truth, only has one version, all the time they are shifting the boundaries to their favour with some Kalabari Chiefs, who were secretly approached to sign documents to cede all these territories to Bayelsa state. But, they cannot change the fact that, the controversial oil well territories belongs to the Kalabari people.

“This is because, if you plan evil or attempt to ruin the Kalabari land of its natural resources, the gods, our ancestors will not allow you. Bayelsa state was created in 1996, and the boundary was created between us at the Santa Barbara river. It has now been moved to the San Bartholomew river. If they allow that, then, Abonnema and Idama will be in Bayelsa state. This is what is coming and I tell you stop it now, because God will not allow it to happen. We must go back to the colonial boundary which was impartial. If you rig election to be in office, tomorrow, you may not be there, but these records will be there forever. And, it is left to us Kalabari sons and daughters to support all those fighting for our course. And, fight with all that we have to stop this nonsense. It is nonsense and I owe no apology to it because, it is nonsense. Any person who wakes up any morning that he is going to acquire territory owned by people by fiat is nonsense. This is because, they can never get it, even with their pen. One oil well is a billion naira, and we are talking about 41 oil wells”, he said.

Professor tam David-West while commending Governor Amaechi picked holes with President Jonathan over his style of leadership, which he said, was calculated to deprive the Kalabari people of their natural resources.

“So, I think, we owe Governor Amaechi a chain of gratitude for agitating severally that, this is my territory, I am the Governor of Rivers State and, I will not concede to cede any territory from the state to anybody. You swore by the Bible, when taking the oath of allegiance to protect the territorial integrity of the state. Let me say categorically that, I have nothing against President Jonathan, but, I hate the style of his leadership and I have no apologies for it. Let me say also that, I will not support somebody who wants a political office because he is an Ijaw man, but will only support such person, only when that person is good. I remembered that, President Jonathan was schooling at Imiringi at his young age, when I was a serving commissioner in Rivers State. I am not against him, but, I am particularly against everything about his government and leadership, especially, his style of divide and rule system. He will not succeed. I have told his brother who is a fantastic engineer to tell President Jonathan that, I will not pull him down, but, if I see people pulling him down, I will not stop them, because, he is not doing well.”

“And, I want him (Jonathan) to tell us the kind of legacy he wants to leave behind after his tenure. What I want to tell President Jonathan is that, let him leave the Kalabari territory and the oil wells alone. I am also told that, they were planning to create another state out of Bayelsa state. But, when they looked at it, the population was too small, and now, they have considered to take in Abonema and Idama communities as part of Bayelsa state. It will not happen”, Professor David-West said.

The former Petroleum Minister further commended Governor Amaechi for all the numerous projects his administration offered to the people of Rivers State, and urged him to ensure communities at the grassroots feel government presence.

Hear Tam David-west, “Your Excellency, in a gathering like this, I wish to pledge my loyalty to you. I said it many times, and I will say it again that, you are doing well. If you are not doing well, I will tell you, you are not doing well. Anyone who have not seen what Governor Amaechi has done in Rivers State is blinder than bat. I want to use this occasion to tell you that my loyalty is not nairalized. There is no Naira tag on my loyalty”.

On his part, Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has assured the people of the Oceania communities that his administration will work towards the completion of all ongoing projects as a means of showing government presence in the area, and further urged the people to vote out PDP in 2015 to get back their oil wells from Bayelsa State.

According to him, “The question you should ask yourself is where are we going to? And what you need is to vote out PDP in 2015, and be assured of getting back your oil wells”, Amaechi said.


News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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