The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has initiated moves to reconcile Governor Sim Fubara of Rivers State and his predecessor in office, Nysom Wike, confident that it will succeed in restoring harmony for the sake of the people of the state.
The party confirmed to the Nigerian Tribune that it is now working behind the scene to ensure that amity returns between the two party members to enable the government to face the business of governance, vowing that it has no room to fail in the exercise.
Despite rumours of Wike’s impending dumping of the main opposition party for the All Progressives Party (APC) following the move of his loyalists to the ruling party, the PDP is not ruling out reaching out to him to end the feud.
While noting that the people of Rivers have supported the PDP for too long not to share their concern, the national publicity secretary of the opposition party, Debo Ologunagba, assured that the political crisis is not beyond the party to resolve.
He said: “Rivers people have supported us over the years. What is required is peace and tranquility so that they can begin to enjoy the benefits of the dividends of democracy. This has been our thinking and there are undercurrent movements in terms of reaching out to parties.
“We can prioritize our consideration, our interest in the people because that is the whole essence of why we are here and that is why they voted for us. That’s our focus for now as a party, to ensure that peace, understanding come in, and we are doing well in that regard.”
According to him, “The emphasis is to reconcile all the various interests and gladiators such that they will recognize the need to put the people first, and when they put the people first, other things will be secondary.”
He argued that to assume that the party could not reconcile the governor with his former mentor; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), will suggest that the effort will be a failure, asserting that in the PDP, “we don’t do that. We are very positive in our party.”
He also said that to ask whether the PDP can bring them together is to already indict the former ruling party or saying it is incapable, which he said will be very wrong “because the challenge to the capacity of any manager of any party is to find those areas of conflict and try to resolve them and Rivers State is not an exception.”
The PDP spokesman posited that no matter the differences between Fubara and Wike, there is always room to speak as he noted that “there is no conflict even in war where people don’t speak.”
“So, don’t ask me whether we can resolve the conflict or the party can deliver. Yes, Rivers is a bad case but we will continue to try because it’s a work in progress and human interest is involved, it takes a process. If you don’t like it because it may not be fast enough, in democracy, what you do is consultation, what you do is reaching out, and that takes time to mature.”
However, he declined to reveal whether the PDP has already reached out to Wike saying, “I’m not going to discuss the party’s internal process with you. We have our processes and that is being activated and we are making sure of progress.”
“We as a party, what we believe in is the reconciliation of people so that they will know that it is beyond special interest and it is about the people of Rivers State. That is the emphasis and we will do everything in that regard to ensure that all gladiators in Rivers State come together, not just for themselves and for the party, but for the people that they serve,” he added.
Ologunagba maintained that the PDP is well organized enough to resolve the Rivers issue, adding that all the party organs have been activated including the PDP Governors Forum, the National Working Committee (NWC), members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the Board of Trustees (BoT) members who he revealed are all now involved.
The PDP national spokesman stressed the need for the opposition to unite to provide a robust check to the excesses of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who he accused of sneaking totalitarianism into the country.
Citing the recent appointment of alleged APC members into the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), he said it will require a virile opposition to halt the drift into totalitarianism for the sake of the Nigerian people.
CUPP alleges plot to validate defection of 25 Rivers Assembly members
Meanwhile, opposition parties under the Coalition of United Political Parties, (CUPP), on Sunday, alleged a plot to validate the defection of the 25 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the Peoples Democratic party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to facilitate the impeachment of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
Addressing news men in Abuja the national secretary of the coalition, Mr Peter Ameh said the plot would be resisted by the opposition and urged President Bola Tinubu to wade into the matter to save the democracy.
The group claimed that it had intercepted credible intelligence and draft ruling that was purportedly written by a judge, just as it.
Further alleged that the purported draft was currently in circulation on the web and would be delivered on Monday or within the week in a secret application filed in court after the close of business between Thursday and Friday last week.
It said the suit, which had as its reference: FHC/ABJ/CS/1681/2023 was meant to declare the defecting members of the Rivers State House of Assembly as bonafide lawmakers.
The CUPP vowed to drag any judge that delivers such judgment before the National Judicial Council (NJC), urging heads of security agencies to steer clear of the political crisis and ensure that the institutions of government, especially the Rivers Government is protected.
“It is arguably surprising how they were able to file the suit, follow through the process of registration and assignment of the suit within 24 hours.
“Now, it is before the judge scheduled to assume jurisdiction as vacation judge on Monday 18th December 2023 who, by the way, also without any form of hearing, whether in open court or in chambers has drafted a ruling to be delivered on the same Monday 18th December 2023.
“The point here is that a ruling is about to be delivered on Monday (Today), undermining democratic principles and constitutional governance which was shared in a WhatsApp forum.
“Certainly, the content of the ruling would in effect order and say that those who had already defected to the APC are still members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and that their respective seats cannot be declared vacant
“It might also interest you to know that part of the ruling is to the effect that His Excellency, Sim Fubara, the governor of Rivers State, an Ijaw man, cannot present any budget before the State House of Assembly, led by its Speaker Edison Ehie, except before the defectors.
“We are also, not unaware that the whole agenda is to ensure that Governor Fubara is removed from office within the next 10 days via a Kangaroo ruling made ex parte.
“They will say if he is dissatisfied, let him go to court, a slogan which some state actors have adopted to back their nefarious illegality and oppression of the Rule of Law.
“Let us also draw the attention of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, as well as all heads of National Security Agencies, Foreign Mission, International Communities and those who love democracy to what we are saying.
“We urge Nigerians to please march in your numbers and go to the Federal High Court of Nigeria, sitting on Monday and see whether he will read and deliver the draft Ruling line to line, which is already within the public domain, the coalition state.”
Fubara: Don’t pull the ladder you use in climbing, Wike warns
Amid the political crisis rocking Rivers State, ex-Governor Nyesom Wike, has warned politicians not to pull the ladder they used in getting to exalted positions.
“Don’t pull the ladder that you use in climbing. When you are coming down, the ladder may not be there,” Wike said on Saturday.
“And leave the ladder too so that other people can also climb the ladder.”
Wike, who has been embroiled in a dispute with his successor and incumbent governor of the oil-rich state, Siminalayi Fubara, spoke at his residence in Port Harcourt, the state capital while addressing the traditional ruler of Ogbaland who had come to felicitate with him on the occasion of his birthday.
The chiefs and other members of the traditional institution from Ogbaland in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of the state, were led by the traditional ruler, Nwachukwu Nnam-Obi III, who sued for peace in the state.
In his response, Wike assured the monarch that he will listen to his advice and that he is welcome to peaceful resolutions.
Speaking further, he debunked claims that the political imbroglio is an ethnic war, insisting that there is no such consideration.
“We didn’t vote based on ethnicity…but for the unity of Rivers,” the minister said.
“We shall never be part of violence but will always support peace.”
APC over indulging Wike —Lukman
A former national vice chairman (North West) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has accused the national secretariat of his party of complicity in the supremacy battle in Rivers State between the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), Nyesom Wike and the state governor, Sim Fubara.
Twenty-seven lawmakers on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), believed to be loyal to Wike, have defected to the APC .
The state Assembly complex was demolished last Monday on the order of Governor Fubara as the building which had earlier been gutted by fire was claimed to have failed integrity test.
Speaking with journalist at the weekend, Lukman noted that the dissolution of the Rivers chapter of the APC by its national chairman, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and creation of a caretaker committee with Tony Okocha, an ally of the FCT Minister as chairman, was part of an orchestrated plot to hand over the party structures to Wike ahead of next general elections.
He said: “I think we (APC), should take responsibility in some ways because perhaps if as leaders of the party we didn’t indulge Wike the way we did, he would have managed his relationship back in Rivers with the governor and other political leaders better.
“ I think, for me honestly, because I don’t want to play cheap politics, we must appeal to Wike if for whatever reason he will make the choice he made to support Siminalayi Fubara to emerged as the Governor, he must take responsibility and leave with the consequences and find a way to swallow the bitter pills. “Because we are not talking about governance. The more he mismanaged his relationship with Fubara, the fight which they’re doing for now those who are going to be receiving the short end of the stick are the people of Rivers State.
“This is going to happen at the expense of governance. You can see based on the street fight you can see an “arrangee” has been made, Fubara presented budget and in less than 24 hours it was passed. This is not democracy anymore.”
“Look, if this democracy is to move this country forward, we need leaders who will make the needed sacrifice so that citizens can be happy. Not to go on street fighting simply because that you disagree with yourselves.”
Stretching his argument further, the former DG of the Progressives Governors Forum argued that the manner the APC caretaker in Rivers openly romanced the FCT minister showed that he was being emboldened by the APC to disrupt governance in the South-South state.
“You are witnesses, I am sure when the group of the so-called caretaker committee came to pay the courtesy visit to the national chairman and shortly after that the national vice chairman South/south led APC leaders from that state to go and visit Wike and after that without any local problem in Rivers State, the National Working Committee sat down and dissolved all structures of APC so as to open the door for Wike to come into the party. So, I mean you just give him license to say you are welcome whatever you do we accept it. That is what I mean by indulgence and I don’t think we should reduce politics further.”
“Unfortunately, for us that is where we are. We reduced the whole politics to the issue of electoral contest. Less than six months coming out of a general election we are already commencing the contest for the next general election which will come up in the next four years. The question of what elected representatives should do to deliver on the promises made has already been sacrificed.
“Citizens are just waiting, they are at the receiving end. We promised renewed hope, we are doing nothing to renew the hope and everybody is keeping quiet.”
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