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Taming the Rivers’ political monster

Wike’s interest and Fubara’s relevance as governor

‘Why must the selfish interest of one man hold the whole state to ransome?’

By Valentine Amanze

(5-02-2024)

Wike and Fubara | File Image

The political crisis in Rivers State is becoming very intense and dangerious for Nigeria’s democracy.

People are dying like flies everyday, while properties worth billions of naira are destroyed– all in the name of politics.

The two gladiators – the immediate past Governor Nyesom Wike and the incumbent Governor Siminalayi Fubara – have not shown serious commitment to peaceful resolution of their misundestanding.

Their madnes has crippled governance in the oil-rich state. It is all about power game – who controls the state’s resources.

The gladiators are aware that the most powerful political structure controls the state’s rich resources. It is the trend in Nigerian politics. It was first witnessed in Lagos, where a former governor, after leaving office several years, still controls the state resources and political power.

Wike, the current Federal Capital Territory (FCT) minister, should be satisfied being a minister and not insisting to remain the sole controller of the Rivers State resouses.

He singlehandedly picked members of the state assembly and appointed all members of the state cabinet including the incumbent governor to actualize his dream.

He also allegedly picked all the council chairmen in the state to solidify his political structure’s complete grip on the grassroots’ politics.

Also read: Judiciary: Nigeria’s rubbished institution

While asking for absolute loyalty from his loyalists, Wike allegedly accused Fubara of attending Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) meetings cladenstianly.

He arrogantly boasted publically that he “made” Fubara governor by financing his election via his political structure.

 With all the bullying, Fubara has remained calm without resorting to violence. But the recent development in the state looks worrisome. Fubara is gradually attracting simpartizers from within and outside the state after efforts of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reconcile the feuding parties did not favour the incumbent governor.

How would Tinubu convince Fubara to sign a peace accord under duress just to reconcile with the rebellious 27 House of Assembly ex-members and some state ex-commissioners, who tendered their official resignation letters in solidarity with the former governor.

The Wike-lawmakers and commissioners had before then volunteringly quit Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the party, which platform they rose to limelight, before defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

But, Nigeria constitution is clear on the matter. If any lawmaker quits the Assembly, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will hold a bye-election to elect his replacement.

Fubara was right to work with the lawmakers, who remained loyal to him, even as the Supreme Court confirmed him as the state governor.

Even with the Court victory and the Abuja-forced reconciliation efforts, it is not yet uhuru for Fubara. He could easily be impeached by the 27 rebelous laymakers who are nolonger PDP members. With their anticedents it obvious that they working for Wike, and not representing their constituencies.

Fubara must wake up from his slumber and stamp his authority as the state executive governor, who controls the state security.

This is the time for all peace-loving Rivers State indigenes must rally round their governor and protect him against the monster that does not mean well for the state.

Eventhough he served Wike in various capacities, he has paid his dues. Fubara was not a domestic servant. Wike also rose under someone.

All the past civilian governors in Rivers State passed through Peter Odili, the former governor.

Odili never played God to Celestine Omehia, Chibuike Amaechi, and Nyesom Wike.

 God fatherism in politics is what brought the mess everyone is suffering in Nigeria today.

This is the time for Wike to retreat. His selfishness is snowballing into ethnic/tribal crisis.

The Ijaw in the Niger Delta are said to be in support of Fubara, who is their kinsman. Again, some monarchs and civil rights groups in Rivers State are behind Governor Fubara.

Recently, two members of the National Assembly from Rivers State and the National President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) led separate groups to Port Harcourt to protest against the crisis in the state and registered their solidarity with the governor.

The two National Assembly members are Awaji-Inombek Abiante, who represents the Andoni/Opopo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, and Boma Goodhead, the representative of the Asari-Toru/Akuku-Toru Federal Constituency, both in the House of Representatives.

In a solidarity rally, the lawmakers led hundreds of youths who sang and marched from UTC junction through Azikiwe Road, passed in front of the Government House and terminated at the entrance to the Rivers State House of Assembly complex.

Addressing the crowd, Abiante said that the Rivers people were not slaves and the state was not a conquered territory.

He also urged President Bola Tinubu to practice what he preaches by ensuring that good governance prevailed in Rivers State, pointing out that good governance was synonymous with respect for the rule of law.

Why must the selfish interest of one man hold the whole state to ransome?

It is on record that Governor Fubara has not executed any project in the state since the inception of his regime in May 29, 2023, except payment of salaries.

Imagine how many lives had been lost in the crisis and the cost of properties consumed by it.

One felt sad watching bulldozers pulldown the Rivers State House of Assembly complex built with tax payers money. That structure built by the Odili-administration remained one of the best in the federation. It was demolished after hoodlums loyal to one of the aggrieved parties in the state torched it.

As development projects are nolonger going on in the state, who loses? The grassroots people must rise and say no to the political gangersterism and rascality in Rivers State.

While the PDP must wake up to support Governor Fubara, who is a party member; INEC and the Judiciary must be very careful on election matters so that people’s votes count at the end; and not the contrary.

Also, the National Assembly must show interest in Rivers issue by taking over the role of the state lawmakers until the return of normalcy in line with the provision of Section 11 (4) and (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

Subsection (4) stipulates: “At any time when any House of Assembly of a state is unable to perform its functions because of the situation prevailing in that state, the National Assembly may make such laws for the peace, order and good government of that state concerning matters on which a House of Assembly may make laws as may appear.”

Subsection (5) reads: “For the purposes of subsection (4) of this section, a House of Assembly shall not be deemed to be unable to perform its functions as long as the House of Assembly can hold a meeting and transact business.”

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