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Drama As Rivers Elders Dump Wike, Support Fubara

Some Rivers State elders have declared their support for Governor Siminalayi Fubara in his political supremacy battle with his predecessor cum the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike.

The elders, who are members of the Rivers State Elders Council, include High Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, Chief Rufus Ada-George, Chief Asukewe Iko-Awaji, High Chief Sunnie Chukumele, and a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus.

Other prominent members of the council include a former deputy governor, Dr Gabriel Toby, a Second Republic lawmaker, Senator Bennett Birabi, a Niger Delta activist,  Mrs Ann Kio-Briggs, and former Senator, Andrew Uchendu.

Naija News reports that Wike and his successor have been at loggerheads since October 2023, when some lawmakers in the state began impeachment proceedings against Governor Fubara.

Despite President Tinubu’s intervention, the governor has been at war with 27 lawmakers in the state who are loyal to the FCT minister and have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Also, five Commissioners loyal to Wike resigned from the Rivers State Executive Council during the week.

Rivers Elders Speak

Speaking in separate interviews with Punch, the elders advised Fubara to stand firm against Wike and deliver dividends of democracy to the Rivers people.

The elders, who have been vocal about the state’s happenings, said they would not allow the state to be plunged into an avoidable crisis.

Speaking in an interview with the newspaper, High Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe claimed that Fubara nearly resigned due to the constraints but was persuaded to stay by critical stakeholders.

Chief Sara-Igbe welcomed the resignations of the commissioners loyal to Wike, stating that they added no value to the government.

He reiterated the elders’ support for Fubara and urged the governor to act without sentiment as he continued to deliver on his promises to the state.

Sara-Igbe also urged Wike to allow Fubara to govern without interference, warning that continued disturbance could lead to discontent among Rivers people.

Also speaking, the Convener of the Coalition of Rivers State Leaders of Thought, High Chief Sunnie Chukumele, declared support for Governor Fubara and berated the resigned commissioners.

He said, “They (former commissioners) were not there to serve the state. They were also not men of their convictions because when a man is a man of his convictions, he should be able to deal with justiciable principles. So, they were there just to fulfil some particular interest.”

Chukumele also advised the governor to appoint competent Rivers people to fill the vacant cabinet positions.

“And I think the Governor may also need to create more ministries. For instance, we need a Ministry of Home Affairs in Rivers State. There is so much that is happening that requires security. There needs to be a commissioner who will handle an office like that.

“There are many people who are eminently qualified in Rivers State to fill those positions. They will also be loyal to the governor and the Government of Rivers State. That is important. Insubordination must not be tolerated. There has to be zero tolerance for insubordination. Rivers people are looking for the best,” he added.

Speaking in the same vein, a member of the Rivers Elders’ Council, Chief Asukewe Iko-Awaji, urged the governor to concentrate on governance and avoid political distractions.

He said, “The governor should concentrate. There is no politics now. Politics will come again in 2027. But for now, anything that will cause him distraction should be removed, and he should forge ahead.

“If he fails to deliver the dividends of democracy to the Rivers people, the people will take their decision in 2027. So, he should give more attention to the development of the state. Nobody will take what is happening now as an excuse for failure in his role as the state governor.”

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