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Close friends of Wike, Fubara behind Rivers crisis – Spokesman



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Yes, there is an obvious crack, or I will call it disagreement based on the principle in the sense that individuals are where they are based on their personal beliefs. It all started the morning of October 30, 2023, a day the people of Rivers State were greeted with the news of Impeachment moves by members of the state House of Assembly on the governor, which first came as a big and unbelievable surprise to many. But to the general public, it was a needless and avoidable crisis. Though there were rumours of a slight misunderstanding between the incumbent governor and his predecessor which we heard had been resolved, nobody imagined it would lead to a full-blown crisis.

Those loyal to the governor are those who believe that the actions of the lawmakers were hasty, selfish, and unnecessary because the governor was just three months as of then, which was not enough time for anybody to be able to access a government whether it was doing well or not. Again, the lawmakers have not been able to tell Rivers People the reasons for the impeachment move up to date. To make matters worse, they all moved to the All Progressives Congress while talks were still going on to mend fences. On the other hand, there are others loyal to the FCT Minister who believe that the governor, for not agreeing to certain things, is not loyal and therefore should be removed.

Well, the Commissioner for Information and Communications (Joe Johnson) answered this question earlier and I would like to dwell on what the commissioner said. He asked Tony Okocha if he was a member of Governor Fabara’s cabinet and if he would know when and whether an executive council meeting was held in the state or not. He argued that all state functions were going on, including the State Executive Council meeting, which had been uninterrupted despite the political impasse in the state.

My problem with Tony Okocha is that he does not crosscheck his facts before going to the media. His Excellency, Governor Fubara, had directed all the 23 council chairmen to pay the statutory minimum wage. He also approved the promotion of all employees of local government areas that are due for promotion and that they should be paid their accrued benefits. While some local government council chairmen complied with this, others didn’t, hence the governor directed the Joint Allocation Committee to ensure that the exercise was carried out in all the government councils before the funds were released for uniformity. As I speak to you, all the 23 local government councils in Rivers State have paid workers’ salaries after the exercise. The local government employees are full of praise for the present administration led by His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara.

The party has been up and doing right from the first day of this crisis by engaging all actors, using leaders and stakeholders alike, who have shown a willingness to serve as that bridge-building machinery that will bring peace to the party and the state because the PDP has been in firm control of Rivers State since the return of democracy in 1999; and of course it has become a way of life for the people, So, what affects the PDP here affects the entire state, and that is why all hands are on deck to bring us back as a family. As a matter of fact, even the defected lawmakers are not left out, and a lot of people are beginning to see reasons they never saw yesterday to shift grounds in the interest of the state. That is why I said that peace will return soon, and it will happen.

The stakeholders and other party faithful are all worried about the impasse because nobody likes crises, and their position is for peace to return to our party, the ruling party in the state. That is why, as I said, the stakeholders are the machinery used by the party to drive the process of reconciliation among aggrieved members in both camps.

In politics, it is said that there is no permanent friend, no permanent enemy, but permanent interest. It will be wrong to predict 2027 in 2024 because nobody knows what the political equation in Rivers State will look like then. Remember that nobody envisaged what is going on now. Therefore, apart from the God factor, change, apart from being a constant thing in life, is a recurring decimal in politics, which is why it always seems to be the recycling of certain individuals in the political scene. Some of the politicians that are with the FCT Minister today were once his political enemies too.

Mind you, this crisis came about because certain persons took it upon themselves to create it in their interest. I mean those who are very close and trusted allies of the FCT Minister and Governor Fubara. What I’m saying in essence is that this crisis was orchestrated by some greedy politicians, and that is why neither the minister nor Governor Fubara can lay hands on any cogent reason for the fight. As the days went on, both leaders began to realise and came to terms with each other and made genuine peace, where the love that existed among them would be ignited again. So, there is every possibility that the FCT Minister will support Governor Fubara, come 2027.

This is a constitutional matter; in as much as we, the PDP question the neutrality of the peace agreement, the governor was not given a timeframe on when to do this or that. Remember that the governor also told Rivers people that he would not do anything that would be detrimental to the state in trying to pursue peace. This means that he will not take actions that will take the state backward because he wants peace. The APC cannot claim that the governor is running the state without a budget because a court of competent jurisdiction, in a ruling, recognised Edison Ehie as the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly as he then was.

He sat and declared the seats of the defected lawmakers vacant in line with section 109 (1) g of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. That is also backed by a Supreme Court verdict. It was based on this premise that the governor approached the Rivers State House of Assembly with the 2024 Appropriation Bill which was passed into law. That judgment has not been upturned till today as I speak to you. So, if a budget can be presented twice, it is what I cannot provide answers to because I’m not a lawyer. This is why I said that it is a constitutional matter.

Our proactive governor who had earlier visited the SONGHAI Farms in Tai Local Government Area, the Buguma Fish Farm in Asari-Toru Local Government Area, the Cassava Processing Factory in Oyigbo, Oyigbo LG, and other agriculture-related state-owned facilities for on-the-spot assessment and I can tell on good authority that apart from other policies put in place by the government to ensure that the poor and downtrodden in the state do not suffer the current hardship occasioned by the economic meltdown being experienced in the country, all those facilities are at different stages of renovation and expansion, while some will soon commence operation. They not only provide enough food, but they would no doubt employ a lot of Rivers youths and take them off the streets.

We know the person who specialises in spreading in the state, and there is no iota of truth in that allegation. I think some persons are trying to undermine the magnanimity of the governor because this is the first time I have seen where people resign willingly from office and are accepted back with full benefits. I can tell you that those commissioners have nothing to complain about else they would have resigned again.

The truth of the matter is that right from time, the PDP has won back-to-back both general and local government elections in Rivers State. The APC is not a threat to us in any way. So, we will win the local government election any time it will be held.

We condemn the attack on Governor Fubara by the Senate President because his reaction was not necessary. His actions against Rivers people have never been pleasant but embarrassing, as he seems to have taken advantage of the political impasse in the state to perfect his enterprise of igniting more crises to the detriment of the state.

An instance of display of obvious hatred for Rivers people by Senator Akpabio was the harassment and an attempt to take an illustrious daughter of the state, Gbene Joi Nunieh, away from her house here in Port Harcourt, during her tenure as NDDC acting Managing Director, just to make sure that she was removed. Recently, at a church service in Tai Local Government Area, the same Akpabio had made a ridiculous remark regarding the 2027 governorship election in Rivers State.

At the service, Akpabio had called on the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike to look for somebody from the Ogoni extraction who will succeed Governor Siminalayi Fubara in 2027. Such a statement is a huge embarrassment that could provoke a crisis as the governor has not told anyone that he would not seek re-election in 2027. All these have exposed Senator Godswill Akpabio’s desire to stir up sentiments and aggravate the political crisis already confronting the state.

It is indeed sad that rather than Senator Akpabio who is a statesman in his position as Senate President to play the role of a mediator in resolving the crises, as a South-South son, he is joining forces with the enemies of the state in fanning the embers of war, disunity, and destabilisation, through incisive and provocative comments each time he visits Rivers State, something he does not do in his home state of Akwa Ibom, also controlled by the PDP.

We however appeal to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu to caution Godswill Akpabio as his consistent throwing of tantrums at the state governor and the people is capable of provoking crisis in the state, which is against the tenets of the peace proclamation that Mr President brokered. We also advise him to concentrate more on his job as the Senate President and avoid delving into petty issues in Rivers State.