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Rivers crisis: Panic in Fubara’s camp as 27 pro-Wike Assemblymen defect to APC


Rivers crisis: Panic in Fubara’s camp as 27 pro-Wike Assemblymen defect to APC

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. Gov summons emergency Exco to strategise on response

. Ijaw Congress urges Tinubu to call FCT Minister to order

Following Monday’s defection of 27 out of the 32 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to the opposition All Progressives Congress, palpable fears have gripped the camp of Governor Siminalayi Fubara, over the development, First News has learnt.

The defection of the 27 PDP lawmakers to the APC has added a fresh twist to the lingering political spat between Governor Fubara and his godfather, Nyesom Wike, who is the immediate past governor of the state and incumbent Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

The Rivers lawmakers reportedly dumped the PDP for the APC during Monday’s sitting of House.

A few weeks ago, the pro-Wike Assemblymen had made a failed attempt to impeach Governor Fubara.

The state Assembly complex was eventually razed by fire by yet-to-be-identified persons.

Wike in his reaction to the arson at the state House of Assembly, had argued that impeachment shouldn’t be likened to a military coup, which is a violent way of seizing the control of government.

The FCT Minister had further argued that an impeachment process was normal as it didn’t contradict the constitution and law in any way.

However, it was gathered that with the latest development in the River State House of Assembly, where the APC now forms the majority, any impeachment move against Governor Fubara will naturally sail through.

But in an apparent reaction to the 27 lawmakers’ defection to the opposition APC, Governor Fubara on Monday, immediately summoned an emergency State Executive Council meeting.

The emergency Exco meeting held at the Government House in PortHarcourt, the state capital.

It was learnt that the Exco meeting was called by Governor Fubara to strategise with members of his cabinet on how the state government should respond to the development as well as the measures to be taken to tackle any further impeachment threat to him.

The emergency Exco meeting, First News further gathered, was not unrelated to the lingering political crisis in the state.

Meanwhile, the Ijaw National Congress, on Monday, urged President Tinubu to prevail on Wike and his loyalists to halt their plot to remove Fubara from office.

INC also condemned what it called open support by security agencies for the Martins Amaewhule-led faction of the state lawmakers loyal to Wike, whom they gave protection to hold a sitting against a subsisting court order requiring all parties to maintain the status quo and to take no official actions until further notice.

INC President, Prof Benjamin Okaba, in a statement, on Monday, said it was curious that despite previous interventions of Tinubu and other critical stakeholders, Wike had remained adamant on ensuring Fubara’s impeachment.

The INC statement read, “Mr President, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, we implore you once again to call Mr Wike and those Federal Government agencies and agents who are putting Rivers State at risk of anarchy, to order. Such elements are inimical to the stability of Nigeria sooner or later.

“Mr Wike has also featured on several network TV stations where he made very provocative statements and scandalous claims against Governor Fubara; accusing the governor of attempting to ‘take over’ his ‘structure’, openly taunting him as an ingrate who is lacking in integrity as well as asserting without investigation that the governor masterminded the burning down of the hallowed chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“Is Mr Wike at liberty to make scandalous, libellous and inciting comments without fear of sanction from the security agencies or even Mr President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu?

“Is Wike the C-in-C of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, such that those on national assignments in Rivers State now act according to his whims and caprices or those he supports, in the push to impeach or make Rivers State ungovernable for His Excellency Governor Siminialayi Fubara, as he publicly boasted? As we glean from history, can law-abiding citizens suffer such intolerable lawlessness orchestrated by one man, indefinitely?

“We, therefore, submit to Mr President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu that Ijaw National Congress Worldwide, its affiliate bodies, substructures and activists are direly concerned by the impunity and indecorous conduct by a Minister of the Federal Government and the apparent connivance of those who ought to curb his excesses.”

The INC, however, commended Fubara for his calm and mature disposition in the face of insults and provocations by the FCT minister, noting, “Such conduct is unbecoming of a civilised leader and statesman.”

The Ijaw leader also lauded the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and other stakeholders who were putting the interest of the state above other interests.

He urged all Rivers people and well-meaning Nigerians to stand with Fubara “to protect our democratic institutions and ensure that justice and the will of the masses prevail.”