It has increasingly become a commonplace in Nigerian politics for incumbent governors to fall out with their godfathers believed to have played key roles in their emergence, but only a few would have predicted things would go south so soon between former Governor of Rivers State and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike and his godson, Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
Barely five months after Fubara took over from Wike on May 29, the alleged strained relationship between the duo was in the full glare of publicity Sunday night when the hallowed chamber of the state House of Assembly was set ablaze in a reported move to thwart an impeachment plot against the governor. The crisis has become full blown by Monday morning.
In a dramatic turn of events, the House removed Fubara’s loyalist and majority leader, Edison Ehie, who was said to have frustrated an attempt to initiate impeachment proceedings against the governor. Before long, the governor and his loyalists, surrounded by armed security operatives, stormed the Assembly complex to disrupt the impeachment move.
Addressing his supporters at the Assembly complex Monday morning, Fubara said he had not committed any impeachable offences and accused the security agencies of compromise.
He said, “From what I have seen the security agency is even compromised. They were shooting at me directly but it doesn’t matter, somebody will die one day.
“When people here ask who is this Fubara? He is that man that was killed for his struggle. I am not against anybody. I’m not planning anything against anybody that I don’t know where these things are coming from.
“Let it be put on record that whoever masterminded this is trying to shift… I heard some people gathered to do whatever. That is purely rubbish. You can’t sit when there is a problem and say you are doing anything. What are you doing? I’m the chief security officer. I’m the head of the government… whatever action that is taken here is null and void. For our good people, I know you are prayerful. You have been praying for me. God will see us to the end.”
While the drama unfolding in Rivers is quite intriguing, it is not unusual. Wike had towed a similar path with his predecessor and former boss, ex-governor Rotimi Amaechi.
KWANKWASO VS GANDUJE
For many years, former Governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, was in good books of his successor, ex-Governor Abdullahi Ganduje. Ganduje was twice deputy governor to Kwankwaso from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2015. Between 2003 and 2007 when Kwankwako was Minister of Defence, Ganduje worked closely with him as their relationship grew stronger. But things fell apart between them shortly after Ganduje assumed office in 2015 and sent his list of cabinet members to the state House of Assembly for confirmation. Many of Kwankwaso’s loyalists complained bitterly that Ganduje shut them out.
The two leaders initially tried to manage the crisis, but it was only a matter of time before it degenerated to a full-scale rivalry that pitted Kwankwaso’s anointed candidate, Kabiru Abba Yusuf, against Ganduje in the 2019 governorship election which Ganduje later won in a “controversial circumstance”.
The two leaders had a rematch in 2023 with Kwankwaso backing Yusuf again while Ganduje supported Nasir Yusuf Gawuna. Yusuf was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), but was later sacked by a tribunal whose ruling had since been appealed.
TINUBU VS AMBODE
Since he left the office as the Lagos State Governor in 2007 after serving two terms, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has become a formidable force that determines the compass of the state’s political leadership. He was instrumental in the emergence of former Governors Babatunde Fashola and Akinwumi Ambode as well as the incumbent Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is serving his second term.
Ambode, however, got into trouble with Tinubu in the buildup to the 2019 governorship poll when he sought to be re-elected. He was said to have wronged the party leadership popularly known as Lagos State Governing Advisory Council (GAC) which Tinubu aligned with.
Ambode stuck to his guns. He openly criticised Sanwo-Olu who was Tinubu and GAC’s preferred candidate and participated in the primaries filled with intrigues. Unlike Fashola, Ambode was almost completely out of the radar in the scheme of things after he left office, no thanks to his severed relationship with Tinubu.
OSHIOMOHLE VS OBASEKI
The current governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki also had a disagreement with his predecessor and boss Senator Adams Oshiomhole. Obaseki a key cabinet member of the Oshiomhole-led goverment and had his “blessing” to emerge governor in 2016 under the All Progressives Congress.
However, Obaseki and Oshiomhole later fought as the former defected to the Peoples Democratic Party in an attempt to achieve his second term bid after he was disqualified from participating in the APC primaries.
Oshiomhole, who was said to have masterminded Obaseki’s disqualification following in the wake of their running battle, backed Osagie Ize-Iyamu, but Obaseki eventually won.