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Fubara, Wike enough is enough

The lingering political crisis in Rivers State, which takes its root from disagreements between incumbent Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike who is…

The lingering political crisis in Rivers State, which takes its root from disagreements between incumbent Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike who is the current Minister, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, took a turn for the worse last week with renewed moves by 27 members of the state House of Assembly to impeach the governor. There was also a report that the five other members loyal to Governor Fubara, elected a new Speaker for their faction. Furthermore, the House of Assembly was moved to the government house complex, with other accompanying developments.

Indeed, it appears as though there is no end in sight for the crisis in the state. Just when it appears as though things are getting better, reports will emerge of further crisis and this is very unfortunate.

This month, on May 29 to be precise, most states in the country and the federal government will be celebrating their first year in office, following their inauguration on the same date last year after their elections. It will be an occasion to showcase the achievements and review the challenges so far encountered in order to meet up going forward. In Rivers State, however, the case is different, as it has been bedevilled by crisis in most of the past 12 months. Although, the state government has said it would roll out 20 days of activities to mark Fubara’s first-year anniversary and that 10 projects have been earmarked for inauguration and flag-off in various local government areas of the state, we believe that whatever achievements were recorded could have been more if the political situation was better. It must be stated that not a lot can be achieved in a state of crisis.

With the protracted crisis, the people of Rivers State, whether directly or indirectly, have been caught in the crossfire as the two protagonists remain irreconcilable over political differences. When the issue first reared itself, the presidency attempted to resolve it through dialogue. It called a meeting, which had in attendance the two major players, political stalwarts and elders from the state. After that meeting, it appeared as though the crisis had been resolved, but it did not take long before stories that pointed otherwise began to emerge.

To say the latest political developments have cast a dangerous pall over Rivers State is stating the obvious. Both sides appear to have dug their positions and are spoiling for a political battle that would likely precipitate unprecedented political chaos and anarchy.

And this has the people of Rivers State and Nigerians generally and justifiably concerned. From Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni to Bonny, Degema to Opobo/Nkoro, Okrika to Ahoada, all through to Gokana, Emohua and Eche, indeed the entire 23 local governments of the state, the feeling is one of disappointment and lamentation at the unfortunate political impasse in the state. Not only have the people been largely deprived of adequate representation from their lawmakers at the state assembly, due to the crisis, but they are now having to face the possibility of a total breakdown of the political order in the state with dire consequences.

And for the generality of Nigerians, the developments are no less disconcerting. Rivers is a pivotal state, not only for being one of the oil-producing states, it has played immense roles in the history and politics of Nigeria, over the years and produced outstanding personalities in various fields of endeavour.

We believe that above all else, what is at play in Rivers State is the ego of Governor Fubara and FCT Minister Wike. And we say it is time to stand down in the overriding interest of the people. Also, as both have already taken positions that negate the noble path of reason, we call on the spectrum of Rivers State stakeholders and elder statesmen, which abound to wade in. And for what it is worth, we also ask personalities of similar status and standing in Nigeria to join in the efforts to pull Rivers State away from the brink of political anarchy.

This call is having regards to the unfortunate experience during the first republic, where the protracted political crisis in the then-western region led eventually, to the collapse of government and the tragic events that followed. With the benefit of hindsight from the happenings of those years, we should not allow present developments in Rivers   State to lead us to that point. Enough is enough. Both parties must sheathe their swords.

This crisis has gone on for too long and it is not doing anyone any good. Stakeholders must stand up and tell Governor Siminalayi Fubara and FCT Minister Nyesom Wike, in clear and unequivocal terms, that for the good of the people of Rivers State and Nigerians in general, this must stop. The ordinary people of Rivers State matter too.

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