The most recent voice to speak out on the political situation in the Rivers is that of the Rivers Elders and Leaders Forum, which has denounced efforts to remove Governor Siminalayi Fubara from office.
A communiqué was published following Sunday’s emergency meeting, outlining the group’s stance. After reviewing what has happened in the political corridor of Rivers State, the Forum expressed regret at the current deadlock.
There was an unacceptable attempt to impeach the governor of Rivers State after only six months in office without providing an explanation to the state’s good people regarding the causes and violations of law, it stated.
They denounced what they said was an assault on Governor Fubara by undercover police officers.
A communique signed by a former governor Rufus Ada-George and His Highness Anabs Sara-Igbe, among others, read as follows: “The Forum reviewed the embarrassing and dangerous ongoing happenings in Rivers State and by extension, Nigeria, viz: attempt to impeach Sir Siminalayi Fubara, Executive Governor of Rivers State, bombing of the Rivers State House of Assembly Chambers, attack on the life of the Executive Governor Sir Siminialayi Fubara allegedly by some security agents on Monday 30th October 2023, and other acts of impunity and lawlessness which portend great dangers to the peace and security of Rivers State and to a whole,” the communique read.
“The Forum has reviewed the demolition of the Rivers State House of Assembly by the Rivers State Government and has urged the Government to rebuild the demolished House of Assembly Complex as soon as possible so that lawmakers can resume their legislative business at the permanent site,” the Forum added.
The current Minister of the FCT, Wike, has been at odds with his predecessor, Fubara, and the Forum is disappointed that their attempts to meet have been unsuccessful.
“We express our deepest sadness that our letters requesting an audience with Governor Siminialayi Fubara and Chief (Barrister) Nyesom Wike went unanswered,” the Forum stated.
The people of the oil-rich state, however, are pleading with President Bola Tinubu to intervene.
Reports circulating on social media accuse the Forum of planning to shop and buy legal instruments outside of Rivers State in an effort to destabilise the state and put lives and property at risk. The Forum has denied these claims.
“According to the leaders, there is an alleged premeditated court ruling by Justice Donatus Okorowo of Federal High Court 8 Abuja regarding an exparte application that pro-Wike former lawmakers secretly filed last night. The judge is expected to deliver his ruling tomorrow, Monday, in which he seeks to halt the declaration of their seat vacant, which has already been done, and to grant them legitimacy to engage with DSS and police in the illegal impeachment of Governor Fubara,” the leaders stated.
Despite 27 PDP lawmakers defecting to the APC, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) maintains that the change has left their seats empty in the Rivers State Assembly.
Regardless of the fault, Governor Fubara nonetheless presented the 2024 budget to his fellow lawmakers at Port Harcourt’s Government House before signing it into law.