Politics: Not Yet Eldorado In Rivers State

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

The once peaceful Rivers state that used to be a home for investors and tourists appears to be sitting on a keg of gunpowder. This is because of the ongoing struggle for political supremacy between the two political gladiators in the state: Siminalayi Fubara, the state governor and Nyensom Wike, a former governor and now minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, under the current President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration. Until the bubble burst, Wike has been running the affairs of the state from Abuja, with Fubara, holding brief for him since May 29, 2023.

On Sunday, May 212, 2024, Desmod Akawor, a former Chairman, PDP, in Rivers state, RMFC, Federal Commissioner, political ally of Wike, who had defected to the App Progressive Congress and other prominent Leaders of the Opposition party,   had staged a solidarity protest  to the state of Assembly quarters in PortHarcourt, the state Capital. Their alleged grievance for staging the protest, which many believe was master0minded by Wike was the alleged plan by Siminalayi Fubara, the state governor, to demolish the Assembly Complex. The APC sympthersiers protest is a sign of what is yet to come up in the Wike’s home state that may degenerate into uncontrollable crisis.  

Gov. Fubara: the jungle has matured

 Martins Amaewhule, the former Speaker of the state House of Assembly and loyalists of he minister may have made matters worse when he confirmed to the hearing of the protesters that there was grand plot by the state governor to bring down structures in the Assembly Complex the same way he ordered   the demolition   of the House of Assembly Complex located along the Moscow road. This may have hardened the APC protesters, who has the backing of the FCT, minister to make the state ungovernable for Fubara.   

 Recall that Gov. Fubara may have agreed to a working terms with the FCT, minister, as he had allowed the former governor to nominate all his political appointees including the Commissioners who were said to be holding strategic positions in the government like the position of Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice and Commissioner of Finance, of the state since the take off the new Administration on May 29, 2023.  

His political Associates of the 49-old, Nkro/Opobo Local Government Area  who were not happy about the political marriage between the duo, were said to have kicked against it , insisting that he must take his rightful position as governor and reject the deal with the all-powerful minister.

 They have their reason: As the state governor, the bulks stops on his table and therefore, there was no basis whatsoever for him to continue to take orders from   Wike, the FCT, minister, to pilot the affairs of the state.

The veil may have may have been removed from his eyes that he has made the bold move to wrestle his executive powers as an elected governor from Wike. This may have informed why Martins Amaewhule, led state House of Assembly and 24 other Loyalists of the former governor in the House, who could not take it, and who had dumped the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and pitched tent with the Opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, at the instance of the minister, who is still a Chieftain of the PDP, to prepare the ground to impeach the PDP governor, for daring their Leader.

The tension in the oil Rivers state had reached feverish point that the duo, had dragged themselves to Aso Rock, the Seat of Power, to seek the intervention of the Nigerian President, to resolve the intractable crisis in the state.

 The Nigerian President, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state, was said to have used his position to ensure that the two parties reach a Compromise by signing a peace deal that had made it possible for the Lawmakers and loyalists of Wike and the all the Commissioners who had resigned to return, which was said to have still made the erstwhile governor to be in total control of the affairs of the state, which Gov. Fubara may not have found funny.

Timi Frank, a former Publicity Secretary of the ruling   APC, at the national level had said that the former Rivers state governor is battling to remove his erstwhile political ally whom he had supported to become the governor of Rivers state  because he wants to install another Ikwerre person as’’ the governor of the state through the  backdoor’’.

The former APC, spokesperson who could not hide is feelings was said to made it clear to those that cares that any attempt by Wike, who has the backing of the former Lagos state governor , to illegally remove Gov. Fubara, for not doing  his biddings as agreed,   will lead to serious  political  crisis  in the state  and which may not only  affect the economy but will be a total setback  to country’s nascent democracy, revenue generation  and development drive.

Oko-Jumbo, Factional Speaker, Rivers state House of Assembly loyal to Gov. Fubara

The Nkro/Opobo born politician may have read the handwriting on the wall that   he may lose his governorship position to one of  Wike’s trusted allies if he fails to act fast.This may have informed why he has joined forces with   Oko-Jumbo led  Loyal members of the state House of Assembly to him  to drag  Amaewhule  and the  other recalcitrant Lawmakers, elected under the PDP, platform but  who had defected to APC,  in the wake of the political  impasse  between the two political  gladiators  to Court.

Gov. Fubra loyalists in the House may have had their way as they won the case at the state High Court which had ruled that the 25 Lawmakers and loyalists of the FCT minister, should stop parading themselves as elected Lawmakers as they have lost their Seat for defecting to the Opposition APC in the state.

The Rivers state governor may have taken advantage of the Court’s Pronouncement sacking the 25 Lawmakers who were loyal to the FCT, minister, and giving him sleepless night to move into action. This is evident going by the recent screening and confirmation of Dagogo Iboroma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, a Commissioner nominee of the governor sent to the House.

Gov. Fubara may have made bold statement when he declared that ‘’the jungle has matured’’. He may have sent a message to the FCT minister to prepare to appear before the panel of inquiry into the governance of the state which his Administration plans to set up.

The governor who could not hide his feelings while swearing in Iboroma, SAN, the new Attorney General  and Commissioner of Justice of the state, was said to have made it clear to those that cares to listen  that  ‘’the state is in a critical situation  where it has become obvious  that the political crisis  cannot be resolved’’.

It was not surprising why he had told the new Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice of the state that he has a big task at hand as the Administration had concluded plans of setting up  a panel of inquiry  ‘’to investigate  he affairs of governance  in the state’’, stating that there is  no going back on it’’.

An aggrieved Gov. Fubara,  may have  alluded to Wike, when he stated that ‘’his opponents  were  deliberately  sabotaging  his Administration  while  he was hoping the issue  in the state  would be  resolved amicably. The Rivers state governor who may have woken up from slumber after over 11 months in office,   had vowed ‘’to take tough decisions  in moving the state forward  no matter how  hurtful  they would seem’’.

 Note that the Rivers state governor, has been shielding   his predecessor   over his shortcomings in office to ensure a  good working relationship between them but may have taken advantage that his loyalists are now at the helm of affairs in the state House of Assembly  to open up on the eight years Administration of Wike.

Wike: FCT,, minister, Giving Gov. Fubara much troubles

He may have shocked the people of the state when he decried ‘’the substantial burden inherited from the previous Administration of Wike’’.   The governor had pointed out that’’ most of the projects that had been commissioned in the state during Wike’s Administration   were not properly funded but did not give an estimate of the debt owed the contractors.

As a prelude to ensuring the Wike’s Administration inherited projects which had been commissioned are completed may have informed why the Companies which had handled the affected projects are returning for outstanding payments

. Indeed, those who knows Wike  at a close range, both as governor and minister, believes that  Gov. Fubara, has touched the Lion’s tail and that  the FCT , minister will fight back which may deepen the crisis in the state.

This time around, he has promised to appear for Commissioning of any project with ‘’white Paper detailing project funding’’ to make the difference with previous Administrations. True to his words, he may have started this with the Commissioning of the Aleto-Ogale- Ebubu-Eto road, also known as old Bori road  in Eleme Local government of the state  by Alex Oti, governor of Abia state.

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