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Rivers political crisis: You are extinct in the eyes of the law, Fubara tells state assembly

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The simmering tension between Rivers Governor Siminalayi Fubara and the pro-Wike members of the Rivers House of Assembly has taken a new turn for the worse, as Fubara declared the Assembly extinct.

According to the governor, the assembly, populated by 27 lawmakers loyal to his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, does not exist anymore.

“They no longer exist as lawmakers in the eyes of the law. Let me say it here: those groups of men who claim that they are assembly members they are not existing. I want it to be on record.

“I accepted that peace accord (brokered by President Bola Tinubu) to give them a floating (soft landing). That’s the truth.

“There is nothing in that peace accord that is constitutional.” It is a political solution to a problem. I accepted it because these are people that were visiting me, and we were together in my house.

“These are people that I have helped… in many ways when I wasn’t even a governor. Yes, we might have our disagreements, but I believe that one day, we could also come together. That was the reason I did it.

“But I think it has gotten to a time when I need to make a statement on this thing, so that they understand that they are not existing. Their existence and whatever they have been doing are because I allowed them to do so. If I don’t recognize them, they are nowhere. That is the truth,” Fubara declared.

Fubara spoke when he received a delegation from Bayelsa State led by former governor of the state, Senator Henry Seriake Dickson, at Government House in Port Harcourt on Monday.

The governor took a swipe at the lawmakers led by “Speaker” Martin Amaewhule, saying,” I want you to see the sacrifice I have made to allow peace to be in our state. I can say here that, with all amount of boldness, I have never called any policeman anywhere to go and harass anybody.

“I have never gone anywhere to ask anybody to do anything against anybody. But what happens to the people who are supporting me? They are being harassed; they are being arrested and detained.

“There is no week that somebody doesn’t come here with one letter of invitation for trump-up charges and all those things.

“I am saying all these things because of what my senior said here: restrain. I don’t think the other party has shown any restraint. I am the one who has shown restraint in the face of this crisis.

“I am the one that is badly hit, even when I have all the government instruments to shake up the table. But why will I do it? I believe that peace is the best relationship to cultivate.”

Fubara said that while seeking a peaceful resolution of the political crisis that erupted in the state in 2023, he had attended several reconciliation meetings, whose resolutions the other party had repudiated.

He said that by acting as the big brother in the crisis and refusing to destroy the “house,” he has allowed the state to continue fostering meaningful development while securing tenable political relationships.

“But I know that I have always taken the path of peace. I have shown respect. I have subjected myself to every reconciliation meeting in order to find peace. And what happens? Each time we come out of such meetings, we are faced with one thunder or lightning.”

He said that when he assumed office, he resolved to build on the existing foundation of past leaders’ development, especially the immediate past governor (Wike).

“But it is a bad thing when the problem that ought not to be anything, becomes something and, in fact, gets out of the bedroom to the sitting room and to the compound. That is the case in Rivers State today.

“I am also happy that you even mentioned the issues, even when I have all the instruments of state powers. I have shown restraint, and I believe that whoever is alive and has been following the activities of our dear state knows that I have acted as a big brother in the course of this crisis.

“I have not acted like a young man who may want the house to be destroyed, but I have behaved like the mature young man that I am. This is because I know that no meaningful development will be achieved in an atmosphere of crisis.

“And because our intention for Rivers State is to build on the foundation that has been laid by our past leaders, it will be wrong for me to take the path of promoting crisis. That is why we are still recording the development that you hear around Rivers State,” Fubara added.

He believed that there was nothing wrong with one helping another person, but that does not mean the helper should take the place of God.

The governor said, as long as he was concerned, God would remain God, who could sometimes cause one’s enemy to be a willing vessel to bring about one’s promotion in life.

“God can do anything He wants to do when He wants to do it. It is only for us to realize that. God will not come down from heaven but will pass through one man or woman to achieve His purpose.

“So, for that reason, when we act, we act as humans—human vessels that God has used—and not seeing yourself as God.

“I want to say clearly that we appreciate the role our leaders, most especially the immediate past governor, played. But that is not enough for me to worship a human being. I can’t do that,” the governor further opened up.

Fubara thanked the delegation for visiting in solidarity with him and his government, saying there is no complete Rivers State without Bayelsa State and vice versa, which demands that they continue to work together for development.

He said:“We were separated because of political purposes to expand development, but we need to be united so that the economies of these two states will grow.

“There is no need for us to have any argument over assets; there is no need for us to have disagreement over the issue of who owns this or who doesn’t own that.

“One way or another, we are even interrelated. That is the truth. So, there is no need to fight.”

Fubara said he took the initiative to visit Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa State because he wanted to put an end to the toxic relationship that existed in previous administrations.

“We had our meeting, and by the grace of God, we’ve had a very wonderful relationship. He’s always there, watching out for me. Even in the face of this crisis, things my commissioner ought to do, when they hide the information from me, he calls me to tell me.

“You don’t know what I am going through. I am working with my own enemies. Imagine where your Attorney-General will go to sabotage you. It was as bad as that. But they will get their reward.

“So, you see, if I had not gone to reconcile with my brother, I would have been in a bigger mess. So, I have already started benefiting, reaping the fruits of that peaceful relationship.”

Fubara also regretted that Rivers State was experiencing such a protracted political crisis because there are no leaders of conscience who could stand up boldly and mediate on issues without bias.

Earlier, Dickson said the visit was in solidarity with Gov. Fubara and the Rivers people, who have shown maturity in the face of the political crisis for stability and development to thrive.

“Your Excellency, we will agree that no true brother or even good neighbour can stay unconcerned when the house of a brother or neighbour is on fire or has an issue. Even if there is a small flame, a neighbour or a good brother should be concerned.

“We have come here as your brothers and as good neighbours also. But also in our own right as Rivers people because this state is our mother state.

“And we are here to show support and solidarity with you, your government, and, most importantly, to solidarize with the good people of this state.

“We have also come with a message, Your Excellency, of peace and reconciliation, forgiveness, unity, mutual respect, political maturity, and tolerance by all.

“If there is peace and development in Rivers State, the people of Bayelsa State will benefit; if there is a crisis in the state, my people will suffer as well. I call on all sides to give peace a chance,” Dickson said.

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