A group of elders in Rivers state on Wednesday weighed into the political situation in the state, and affirmed their support for the Federal Capital Territory FCT Minister, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, while urging the state government, Sim Fubara to take immediate steps to correct the false narratives against the minister to give room for reconciliation.
At a news conference in Abuja, the elders whose position was declared by Chief Ferdinand Alabraba cautioned Fubara’s “newfound friends” to retrace their steps before throwing the state into avoidable chaos.
He said Fubara misread a completely legislative plot as an existential threat. Those who signed the speech included HRH Oha Sergent Awuse, Chief O.C.J. Okocha, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, Rt. Hon. OK Chinda, Sen. Barry Mpigi, Sen. Alwell Oyesoh and Senator Ipalibo Harry Banigo.
Others include Sen. Adawari Pepple, Sen. Olaka Nwogu, Prince Emma Anyanwu, Dr. Sam Sam Jaja, Bro. Felix Obuah, Hon. Ken Chikere, Hon. Felix Nweke, Hon. Frank Owhor, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu, Hon. Dum Dekor, Chief Ejor Ngowah Ejor, Hon. Marcus Nle-Eji, Hon. Boma Iyaye and Hon. Kenneth Kobani.
According to them, Mr Wike remained the undisputed leader that produced the governor, all Assembly members, all 23 local government chairmen and the entire councillors of the Local governments.
Alabraba said; “We have followed with discomfort the recent events in our state that have culminated in the desecration and arson on the hallowed chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly; the removal of the leader of the Assembly, Hon. Edisson Ehie, his suspension along with three others, the counteractions of Hon. Ehie and his trio group with his claim of the impeachment of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule; the suspension of some members loyal to the Speaker Amaewhule with the elevation of Hon. Ehie to the position of Speaker.
“We have also followed the public appearance and speech of the governor of Rivers State at Government House and the State Assembly complex and his encounter with the Police.
“We are aware of the various allegations that these unfortunate events are linked to the former governor of the state and Minister of the FCT, H.E Nyesom Wike.
“We have listened to the various insinuations of ethnic undertone, specifically that Governor Fubara is Ijaw and is marked for impeachment to pave the way for the continuation of Ikwerre governorship.
“We met with our governor, H.E. Siminilaye Fubara and the Honourable Minister, H. E. Nyesom Wike and resolved that H. E. Nyesom Wike is the undisputed leader of the political family that produced Governor Sim Fubara, the three senators, eleven members of the House of Representatives, all thirty-two members of the state Assembly, all twenty-three local government chairmen and the entire councillors of the 23 local government areas in Rivers State”.
According to him, Fubara and all the above-elected office-holders in Rivers State belong to the same political family and are “bound by our philosophy to transform, build, develop, and create the Rivers State of our dreams in consonance with our New Rivers Vision devoid of ethnicity, tribe, creed or gender”.
The elders disclosed that they are aware that there was a pre-existing problem between Hon. Ehie, the then Majority Leader of the House of Assembly and his colleagues which culminated in his removal; and that to forestall Hon. Ehie’s impending removal, the chambers of the Assembly was burnt and Governor Fubara believed that Hon. Ehie’s removal was a precursor to his impeachment;
“The misrepresentation of the internal wranglings among the members prompted the governor’s immediate intervention making him characterize a purely legislative broil as an existential threat. This caused the governor and his newly assembled supporters to give the actions of the Assembly members an ethnic colouration and prompted youths of Ijaw extraction to rally behind the governor in the name of Ijaw nationalism.
“The hasty reaction of the governor has now pitched him H.E. Sim Fubara and the state Assembly members in an all-out battle that has led to the activation of the process of impeachment of the governor; That the governor neither sought the help, clarification or intervention of H.E. Nyesom Wike or the elders on these developments nor did he discourage damaging lies to be peddled against H.E. Nyesom Wike.
“H.E. Nyesom Wike has been viciously attacked by sections of the media and public as the evil mastermind of a scheme or series of events he was neither involved in nor privy to.
“False stories were peddled that H.E. Wike demanded money from the governor to discredit him before a gullible public.
“We confirm that the allegations are wicked, unfair and satanic. The governor being aware of the lies and not debunking them showed bad faith and ingratitude”, they added.
According to them, Governor Fubara is aware that Mr Wike invested heavily in the infrastructural development of Rivers State, as he was selfless and applied the funds of the state judiciously.
“He did not steal nor misappropriate Rivers State funds. To insinuate that today, or create the impression he was asking for money is most unfortunate”, he added.
The elders noted that Mr Wike has consistently fought for and defended the interests of Rivers State.
Alabraba said; “At our visit to H.E. Nyesom Wike, elders assured him of our steadfast, complete and undiluted loyalty. We apologized for the embarrassment caused him by the Governor, H.E. Sim Fubara and all others who played various roles in the unfortunate drama. We vehemently condemn the intrusion by some Ijaw leaders from other states who so soon have forgotten that it was H.E. Wike who insisted on producing a Rivers governor of Ijaw extraction and paid a heavy political price in the process.
“H.E. Wike has since facilitated the appointments of more Ijaw sons including Hon. Boma Iyaye as the Executive Director, Finance, NDDC and Hon. Rufus Godwins Ngerewaji as member of Federal Civil Service Commission. He has done more for Ijaw sons and ethnic nationalities than most of these leaders.
“H.E. Wike’s efforts to make Sim Fubara governor were rejected and opposed largely by Ijaws than any other tribe or ethnic group;
“On the Assembly, we confirm that Rt. Hon. M. Amaewhule is the authentic Speaker and Hon. Ehie and company are validly suspended.
“In conclusion, we wish to once again express our gratitude to H.E. Wike for the audience and amiable disposition to continue to work selflessly for our state and accept the mediation of the elders. We urge H.E. Sim Fubara to take urgent steps to correct the false narrative against H.E. N. Wike thus providing a window for mediatory talks and a way forward.
“We advise those encouraging H.E. Sim Fubara to engage in a needless and fruitless battle with H.E. Wike to desist forthwith and allow the governor to concentrate on consolidating on the extraordinary achievements of H.E. Wike while he was governor.
“Our pact with Rivers people is unbroken. They gave us a mandate in the last election on the back of our achievements under H.E. Wike and trust that the candidate from our political family will continue these good works.
“We caution the new friends of Governor Sim Fubara to retrace their steps before they throw the state into deeper crisis. We stand with H. E. Wike and Rivers State”, they added.