Connect with us


Rivers Crisis: Rivers Elders Back Governor Fubara, Dumps Wike



Former Rivers Commissioner Claims Wike Elevated Fubara To Governorship Status

A group of elders from Rivers State have declared their support for Governor Siminalayi Fubara as the political rivalry with his predecessor, now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, intensifies.

News About Nigeria reports that the elders have urged Fubara to stand firm against Wike and deliver dividends of democracy to the Rivers people.

The elders, including members of the Rivers State Elders Council, High Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, and Chief Asukewe Iko-Awaji, the Convener of the Coalition of Rivers State Leaders of Thought, High Chief Sunnie Chukumele, and a former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, said they would not allow the state to be plunged into avoidable crisis.

The elders council, led by a former governor, Chief Rufus Ada-George, has been vocal about the political crisis in the state.

Going through memory lane, Wike stirred controversy when he endorsed Fubara as the preferred governorship aspirant of the PDP ahead of the 2023 general elections. Several key figures opposed Fubara’s emergence as the candidate, arguing that he had not contributed much to the party and was a political novice compared to them. Despite this, Wike prevailed, and Fubara not only emerged as the party’s candidate but also won the governorship election.

Tensions reportedly escalated when Fubara allegedly faced restrictions in appointing commissioners and other key officials. Reports suggested he was also not allowed to exceed a particular amount of money from the monthly allocations. This led to significant disagreements.

Speaking in an interview with the Punch Newspaper, Anabs Sara-Igbe claimed that Governor Fubara nearly resigned due to the constraints but was persuaded to stay by critical stakeholders. The situation worsened with an alleged plot to change the leadership of the State House of Assembly. The attempted leadership change was aimed at impeaching Fubara, with 27 pro-Wike lawmakers issuing an impeachment notice against the governor.

This led to an explosion at the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex on October 29, 2023, which significantly damaged the building. Despite police barricades, Fubara, while attempting to visit the Assembly, was reportedly tear-gassed and faced gunfire but ultimately addressed his supporters and questioned the impeachment motives.

On December 13, 2023, bulldozers demolished the Assembly under Fubara’s supervision. Pro-Wike lawmakers, having defected to the All Progressives Congress, condemned the demolition and continued legislative business from their residential quarters. This led to the Assembly having two factions with separate speakers: Martin Amaewhule, loyal to Wike, and Edison Ehie, loyal to Fubara.

Governor Fubara recognized the Ehie faction, presenting the 2024 Appropriation Bill to them, which was quickly passed and signed. The political crisis saw nine pro-Wike commissioners resign from Fubara’s cabinet, despite President Tinubu’s intervention that included an eight-point agreement aimed at resolving the conflict.

Recently, some commissioners have resigned their appointments. About five pro-Wike commissioners have resigned following Fubara’s hint at probing Wike. Their letters cited reasons such as a toxic work environment, political crisis, and lack of trust.

Reacting to the development, Chief Sara-Igbe welcomed the resignations, stating that the commissioners added no value to the government. He reiterated the elders’ support for Fubara and urged the governor to act without sentiment as he continued to deliver on his promises to the state.

Sara-Igbe also urged Wike to allow Fubara to govern without interference, warning that continued disturbance could lead to discontent among Rivers people.

Also speaking, Secondus said that Fubara had the support of leaders in the state, adding that “Rivers elders won’t open their eyes and allow the peaceful state to go into a crisis that will consume it.”

Another group of elders under the aegis of the Coalition of Rivers State Leaders of Thought also declared their support for Governor Fubara. The Convener, High Chief Sunnie Chukumele, said, “They (former commissioners) were not there to serve the state. They were also not men of their convictions because when a man is a man of his convictions, he should be able to deal with justiciable principles. So, they were there just to fulfill some particular interest.”

Chukumele also advised the governor to appoint competent Rivers people to fill the vacant cabinet positions. “And I think the Governor may also need to create more ministries. For instance, we need a Ministry of Home Affairs in Rivers State. There is so much that is happening that requires security.”