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Rivers State political crisis: Fubara’s return salvo

In a twist that marks a dramatic turn of developments, the political face-off between the incumbent governor of Rivers State Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor…

In a twist that marks a dramatic turn of developments, the political face-off between the incumbent governor of Rivers State Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor in office Nyesom Wike, may have moved from its earlier one-sided assault as the former assumes a new assertive stance, as if launching a return salvo against his adversaries. Until recently there had been a coordinated, one sided campaign of attrition against Fubara at the instance of Wike, with active assets in the campaign comprising the majority of members of both the Rivers State House of Assembly (RSHA) and the state executive council along with the wider cross-section of the chairmen of the 23 local government councils. To this formation of anti-Fubara coalition is added some members of the National Assembly.

Interestingly, to this already formidable formation can be added in the view of many Nigerians the vicarious support of the President Bola, who had tacitly launched a deliberately flawed peace initiative in 2023, and has seemingly abdicated his responsibility of pressing home any semblance of resolving the situation in the state.

With the afore-mentioned adversarial front arrayed against him, Fubara had been under significant pressure from both within and without the state to assert himself as governor, and claim the driving seat in the on-going face off. Hence it was to the relief of not a few of his supporters that he eventually drew a line in the sand to mark a turn-around in the conflict.

For instance, in receiving a goodwill delegation from Bayelsa last week, Fubara had made some land mark pronouncements, including the clarification that his resort to restraint in the face of serial provocation from his detractors, was due to the respect he had for President Bola Tinubu, and in respect of which he had honoured the terms of the suspect peace deal brokered by President Bola Tinubu, earlier. In the same vein he had stated his de-recognition of the renegade faction of the RSHA led by Martins Amewhule.

Not surprisingly his pronouncement before the Bayelsa delegation triggered another round of impeachment proceedings by the Amaewhule led, renegade RSHA who seem to forget that they had been tottering on the premise of illegitimacy themselves, having breached the extant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution when they unlawfully decamped en-masse from the PDP in 2023, and had been holding plenary seatings where they passed resolutions that will ultimately amount to patent illegalities. Hence, their latter rally to impeach Fubara, even from a well-known position of constitutional incontinence, amounted to gross abuse of office and provocation in an extreme dimension.

However, the big elephant in the room remains the soon to change circumstances of the 23 local government council chairmen in the state as their legitimate tenures as elected officials will end in June 2024. Ostensibly in anticipation of this development, the renegade RHSA had passed a new law that extends the tenures of the LG Chairmen by six months in the event of delay in election of fresh replacements for their offices. Goaded by the new law the LGA Chairmen had through some of their members mooted their resolve not to vacate their offices when the day comes. By this they intend to sustain their sabotage of   Fubara’s administration.

However the incongruence of such a dispensation where illegitimate legislators as the renegade Amewhule led RSHA members would pass a law from the back door which will enjoy compliance by out of office LGA Chairmen when the June terminal date  comes, is the coming attraction in the daily changing political high drama in Rivers State.

Meanwhile, in the seven-month course of all of these twists and turns featuring in the political firmament of Rivers State lies, the question of the primary objective of the ‘Bring Fubara Down’ agenda. For as far as the country’s public space is concerned, not much credible justification has been offered by the anti-Fubara rally except that the political structure of the immediate past governor of Rivers State and now Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nyesom Wike be sustained for whatever reason.  And the foregoing, when viewed from the prism of self-interest dominating political considerations, stands to reason that the political structure under consideration may not be much different from the network of anti-Fubara coalition members, ostensibly planted at various tiers of governance, to do the governor in.

That is why the new assertive stance by Fubara to cage what he sees as the  recalcitrance of some public officers who are sworn to traduce his administration in the name of sustaining the legacies of a past governor, even without verifiable infractions by the incumbent, is attracting fresh attention. And this is where President Bola Tinubu also needs to identify with this new dispensation to review his association with the Rivers State political debacle, considering that his earlier initiative of fostering a peace deal is now compromised. This he has to execute with urgency as his administration stands to suffer more with a burning Rivers State.

The moot point here is that give it strategic status with respect to the politics and economy of the country, the sustenance of peace in Rivers State, offers more dividends to the administration of Bola Tinubu than whatever electoral promise that is dangled before it by any individual or group. This is hoping that President Bola Tinubu sees this angle correctly.

 

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