Officials of the Rivers State government were conspicuously absent as the Amayanabo of Opobo, King Dandeson Jaja, last weekend celebrated his 10th anniversary on the throne.
According to a source, the refusal of the monarch to identify with the state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, in his political travails had pitted the monarch against the government, and that may explain why government officials were absent at the monarch’s anniversary.
The source told Thisday that the governor had expected the monarch to lead his people on a solidarity visit to the Government House as some other monarchs did. But since the monarch failed to do so, he is perceived to support those opposed to the governor.
“The throne of King Jaja cannot be used to play politics and our Amayanabo will not be partisan by getting involved in the political crisis in the state,” the source said.
In his address to the people during his anniversary, Jaja lashed out at politicians for abandoning the welfare of the people for their selfish goals.
“There are three signal areas of concern. First is that campaign for political offices due in 2015 appears to have taken over the decorum and focus of government since 2012. This trend subdues the collective good of all the people under the political interest of a few people.
“Secondly, those of us who pay attention to news around us know that acute economic hardship is ravaging communities and killing our people. Most Nigerians have endured untold poverty and unfulfilled promises by federal, state and local governments in the past 10 years. For how long must this go on.
“Thirdly, security concerns appear to be on the increase because of political interests and ensuing campaigns. Indeed politics in Nigeria threatens to consume our people and our heritage,” King Jaja said.
He noted that politicians had relegated the traditional institution, adding that there was need to accord the institution recognition.
“Here in the Niger Delta, some of our politicians have chosen to disregard our values and cherished legacy behind our ancient kingdoms. They fail to understand that disrespect to a traditional institution extends to all those whose primary identity derive from its symbolic status,” he said.
He therefore called on traditional and ethnic platforms to take advantage of the forthcoming national conference to engineer changes in the politics of the nation.
“We do not need politics of pettiness that makes the majority poorer as the only way for self-centred politicians to become richer. We do not need politics that demean our history and legacy or turns brother against brother. Our politicians must not forget that what they do to the people holds them hostage,” he said.