Mkpoikana Udoma 15 July 2014, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt – Okrika Youths under the umbrella of the Wakrike Students Union, WASU Worldwide, has called for the rename of the Port Harcourt Refinery to Okrika-Eleme Refinery and the creation of a 24th Local Government Area in Rivers State for equity and balance for the Okrika people.
This was the highpoints of the declaration made by members of the union in Port Harcourt at the weekend.
National spokesperson of the students’ body, Comrade Joseph Obianeme in an interview with SweetCrudeReports said the new local government, which should be named ‘Southern Port Harcourt’, would address discrimination against Wakrike People in the state.
According to him, “The name, ‘Alesa-Eleme Refinery’ is robbery on our right to the strip of land that host the refinery, for peace and harmony between us and our good neighbours at Eleme, the name should be tagged ‘Okrika-Eleme Refinery’. We would do everything within the confines of the laws to pursue our cause if this is not done. Multinational corporations within our (Okrika) territory should urgently take steps to address youth unemployment in Okrika, grant scholarships to Okrika students from primary to graduate and post-graduates levels”.
He further declared: “Marginalising us in our own land where an Okrika man cannot be the Mayor of Port Harcourt, we have to negotiate before we are being considered to become Deputy Mayor. Presently, Port Harcourt has 20 wards and of these 20 wards, Okrika has just 6 wards, our Rebisi brothers dominating 30 percent of our lands. So we are saying that the present Port Harcourt City Local Government does not accommodate our interest and therefore we are saying that in order to ensure equity and fairness, they create for us the ‘Port Harcourt South Local Government Area”.
A cross section of WASU chapter presidents led by the union National President, Comrade Ami-na Joshua defended their stand, saying the Wakrike Student Worldwide was trying to achieve what the elders have been unable to achieve.
“Our fathers, our opinion leaders, our chiefs have done so many mistakes in the past. We as students, Wakrike nation, the Okrika kingdom we say let us prepare our plans for tomorrow for our future to be bright. Wakrike Students Union are saying that we have lost hope in our opinion leaders, our politicians from the Wakrike nation, our chiefs and our fathers”
SweetCrudeReports gathered that there are also plans by the Wakrike Students Union, WASU, to forward a copy of the declarations to the United Nations to facilitate urgent implementation.
Also prominent in the declaration was a threat to reject the outcome of the ongoing National Conference over the absence of any delegate of Okrika origin.