By Ochereome Nnanna
The Igbo name of the Governor of Rivers State is Onyesom (Who is with me?) Nwike (Strong or brave lad). But in his Ikwerre dialect of the Igbo language, it is written as “Nyesom Wike”. The Ikwerre are among Igbo groups which pronounce the alphabet “Nw” as “W”. Ngwa and Ukwa people in Abia sometimes do the same, thus “Jaja Wachukwu” (Nwachukwu) and “Adolpus Wabara” (Nwagbara). But we will call him Nyesom Wike as monikered in his native Ikwerre dialect.
When, as an Ikwerre person, Wike claims “we are not Igbo”, there are historical and cosmological contexts to it. General Yakubu Gowon created Rivers State in 1967 as a weapon of the British and Northern Region’s war to remove the Igbo as the controlling power in the defunct Eastern Region. They capitalised on the existing agitation for the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers (COR State) to split the East.