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Jonathan wades into Wike-Fubara feud

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, to sheathe their swords and end the…

Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, to sheathe their swords and end the political crisis in the state.

Jonathan, made the call while speaking at the flag off of for the construction of the N222.1bn Trans-Kalabari Road in Rivers State on Monday.

While noting that Fubara and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory must work together for the growth and development of the state, Jonathan said any further escalation of the crisis would not be good for the oil and gas-rich state.

He further said Rivers was at the centre of the Niger Delta and critical to Nigeria, saying destabilizing Rivers would have an adverse effect not only in the region but the country at large due to the position it occupies.

He explained that even at the centre, where presidents have taken over from presidents, it has been better managed, but regretted that it is worse at the state level, warning that it is not the best.

The former president emphasised that outgoing governors and incoming ones must know that they have to work together for the collective interest of the citizenry of their states, urging them to address their minds to the need for such mutual acceptance.

He said, “In this case of Rivers, Minister Nyesom Wike and Governor Siminalayi Fubara must work together for the development of the land and the people of Rivers State. The tension will not help us.

“Rivers State is very critical in this country. Rivers State is the heart of the Niger Delta. If Rivers State is destabilized, the whole Niger Delta will be destabilized, and it will not end within the Niger Delta alone because I am from this part of the country, and I know how the system works. We don’t want any crisis in Rivers State.

“Leaders most know that nobody takes 100 percent. You most learn the principle of give and take. So, our political actors most work together if you love Rivers people. And, I join the leaders of Rivers State and well-meaning Nigerians who have been calling for truce, who have been calling for ceasefire, to also re-emphasize that there is the need for a ceasefire. Let us do things that will rather project this State positively.”

Speaking further, the former president stated: “There is this common saying that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. Both the Governor and the Minister are young people, very young people but they are powerful, and if you continue to fight, Rivers people will suffer. We don’t want the Rivers people to suffer.

“So, we are calling on them to embrace themselves. One hand does not clap. It takes two hands to clap. So, we want them to work together for the collective interest of Rivers people.

“Whatever has happened, has passed. Let us move to a new phase for the interest of the State, for the interest of the Niger Delta, and indeed, the interest of the country,” he added.

In his speech, Fubara assured that his administration is determined to deliver the Trans-Kalabari Road project to stimulate socio-economic activities in benefiting rural communities for overall development of the State.

The Governor, therefore, advised the people to buy-in into the project and ensure that they ward-off any form of sabotage that may delay or frustrate timely completion of the project.

The Governor said he understands the difficult swampy terrain that the road will traverse, and the associated cost but has decided to embark on it, which signals the driving principle of his administration to put the wellbeing and advancement of the people first.

Governor Fubara maintained that there is fund saved from the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and federal allocations to fund the project to completion without borrowing, which is why 30 percent of the contract sum has already been paid to mobilise the contract to site in order to deliver on schedule.

He said, “When we went for campaign in the three local government areas of Kalabari Kingdom, we promised you that if you give us your votes and we succeed, we will embark on the Trans-Kalabari Road.

“And that is what we have come to do today. We are a government, when we make promise, we keep our promises.

“I understand the cost. I understand the difficult terrain and I also understand that somebody has to take this step. If it is not done by me, then another person can also do it. But within our time, it is proper for us to make a statement to our people.

“I don’t want to talk about politics on this project. I want us to look at the facts. It is a difficult terrain, it is going to be expensive, but we are equal to the task”, he said.

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