•Fubara disappoints supporters, fails to receive them, sends Head of Service to do so
Thousands of protesters drawn from different groups in Rivers state on Friday stormed the Government House, Port Harcourt in a show of solidarity to the state governor, Sir, Siminilayi Fubara amidst the ongoing political crisis.
In a joint statement signed by the leaders of about 16 organizations including the National President of Rivers State students , Comrade Abbey Precious Sime-Ipiri, President of Ogoni Youth Federation, Dr. Legborsi Yamabana, Coordinator of National Association of Nigerian students, NANS, Levi Okoru, President of the Rivers State Chapter of Nigeria Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, Chijioke Ihunwo among others, they urged Governor Fubara not to attempt under any guise of persuasive truce to implement any part of the agreement reached at the Abuja peace meeting with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu which they described as “unconstitutional”.
In the statement, the groups said the agreement was, “akin to selling our collective hegemony to one individual, in the person of the Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike”, who according to them, “enjoys the support of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila and the President himself”. The argued that the resolution was not only unconstitutional but was also not signed by the President or any top Federal Government official.
The protesters said, the purported resolutions clearly reveal a perfected plan to enslave Rivers people and bring the state under tyrannical control of one man, adding that “we will all resist it”.
The groups contended that, “the Abuja meeting was convened at the instance of the President, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but the agreement did not have the signature of Mr. President and this throws question as to the authenticity of the said resolutions. It is worthy of mention that the following persons did not also sign their signatures; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Chief of Staff to Mr. President, the Attorney General of the Federation and the Chief Justice of the Federation.
“In fact, that no spokesperson of Mr. President addressed the press on the purported resolutions, leaves Nigerians with more questions than answers”
They alleged that Wike and the Chief of Staff to President Tinubu, Femi Gbajabiamila, were working hand in hand to undermine the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, just to suit their inordinate and selfish political ambitions for 2027.
The coalition alleged that there has been mobilisation of the security architecture of the country to unleash violence and mayhem on Rivers State.
While calling on the Inspector General of Police,,Kayode Egbetokun to take acion, the protesters alleged that some officers of the Counter Terrorism and Special Protection Unit of the Nigerian Police in Rivers State are already causing mayhem in the state by arresting innocent people. Their statement read further:
“A critical analysis of the purported resolutions reveals a barrage of illegalities, more so, at no point was the interest of the good people of Rivers State mentioned or even accommodated, Rather, the ill- fated resolutions depict the abusive show of power for obvious political gains.
“The mischievous essence of these resolutions can also be seen in the last point in the document, where the issue of Local Government Care-taker Committee was mentioned. It is amazing how Mr. President has allowed and supported a Care –Taker Committee of his own party, the APC in Rivers State but directing the Executive Governor of Rivers State not to consider the use of Care-Taker Committee at the Local Government Councils of the same State.
”It is important to remind Nigerians that APC- led governments in Imo and Ondo States are currently under Local Government Care-Taker Committees. Why is Mr. President proposing a different stance for Rivers State? Amongst the other ill- advised resolution is the infamous agreement that the erstwhile State Commissioners who resigned their offices citing personal reasons are now to be forced back on the people of Rivers State?
“Mr. President Sir, if that bit of the resolution sounds fair to you, wouldn’t it also be fair enough to direct that the 27 Rivers State House of Assembly Members, who defected to your party (APC) be forced to return to their party of original victory (PDP)?”
The groups declared that the resolutions by President Tinubu are a sham and national embarrassment to Nigeria and pose fundamental threats to the nation’s democracy.
“We therefore call on all Rivers State people (indigenes & residents) and the entire Niger Delta people across Lagos, Ondo, Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, and Edo states to get prepared and ready to occupy Omagwa International airport, Port Harcourt., Onne oil and gas free zone.NLNG bonny and Port Harcourt complex and facilities.
“Others are Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) complex and facilities Nigeria Oil Agip Oil Company, Total Energies, Aba -PortHarcourt Express road, East West Road, Federal Secretariat , all markets , water ways among others.” They said, since President Tinubu has forgotten that Rivers State is one of the critical economic hubs in Nigeria, and chosen his FCT Minister, Wike, over the peace and development of Rivers State, the people of the State have chosen themselves and will take the destiny of their State in their hands”.
They vowed to occupy all the aforementioned areas from January 1st 2024 to January 30th 2024 until the President sees the need to rescind his decision.
“Rivers state will stay occupied until the president sees reasons with Nigerians and Rivers people, and sack the FCT Minister, Wike, Rivers State is not and cannot be Wike’s estate”
Also speaking, the coordinator of National Association of Nigerian students, Levi OKORU, said “we are here to demand that our Governor speaks to us on what happened in the meeting he attended in Abuja at the instant of the President.
“This is a solidarity visit and as our father, he went on a trip, now that he is back, we want him to brief us. We also want him to know that no matter the pressure he is passing through, Rivers State students are solidly behind him”.
Also, National President of Rivers State students ,Abbey Precious Sime-Ipiri, said , those things were just mere directives by the President and they are not binding since they are not known laws”.
Responding, Governor Fubara said the friendly leadership of the organised labour in the State engenders mutual cooperation and his administration is committed to do more for workers beyond implementing promotions and Christmas bonus. Many were disappointed that the governor did not appear to receive them.
Represented by the Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, Governor Fubara said the sum of one hundred thousand naira (N100,000.00) given as Christmas bonus to each civil servant is unprecedented and far exceed monthly salary of some workers.
He explained that the gesture represented the commitment of the administration to make workers know that they were important partners and must be properly appreciated while motivating them to be more productive.
“Within this few months of the governor being in office, promotion has been made and reflected in salary, rehabilitation work has been done at the State Secretariat Complex to provide a good working environment for workers. All these are possible because the leadership of labour in Rivers State is friendly. They have been supportive of every government activity.”
Reading the statement jointly signed by the Rivers State chairman of the joint negotiation council, Comrade Chuku Emecheta, State Chairperson of Trade Union Congress, TUC, Comrade Ikechukwu Onyefuru, the Rivers State Chairperson of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Alex Agwanwor said the current political crisis poses potential threat to stability, and good governance as being provided by Governor Fubara.
According to him: “the Congress unanimously pledged to accord all the necessary support to the government of Sir Siminalayi Fubara, the Executive Governor of Rivers State to deliver the dividends of democracy for the prosperity of our members and good people of Rivers State.”
Comrade Agwanwor also said that the “organised labour wishes to appreciate His Excellency Sir Siminalayi Fubara, for his magnanimity in the recent promotions, including the payment of a record breaking One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000,) Christmas bonus set by the administration of Peter Odili who gave civil servants Twenty Thousand (N 20,000) during his administration.