How to end Rivers political crisis – Okupe

A former Presidential Spokesperson, Dr Doyin Okupe, has described the leadership  crisis in Rivers as a “total misfortune”, saying the problem requires a political solution.

Okupe, a former Director-General of the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Campaign Council  said this in an interview on Sunday in Lagos State.


Rivers has been engulfed in a political crisis over a power tussle between Gov. Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Mr Nyesom Wike, who is now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The rift has polarised the State House of Assembly with lawmakers loyal to both political gladiators electing different Speakers to lead the House.

Lawmakers loyal to Wike recently dumped the ruling PDP to join APC, while a couple of commissioners loyal to the minister have quit Fubara’s cabinet.

A State High Court in Port Harcourt had in May  barred the lawmakers from parading themselves  as members of state’s House of Assembly after their defection to APC.

The order followed a suit filed by Mr Victor Jumbo,a factional Speaker and two other lawmakers ,loyal to Gov.Fubara.

The court held that all of the laws made by Mr Martin Awaewhule ,the other factional Speaker, and  the 24 other lawmakers loyal to Wike would amount to a nullity until the matter was determined.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, however, on Thursday vacated the order that sacked 25 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, who defected to APC.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of Justices, held that the Rivers State High Court, which issued the order, lacked the requisite jurisdiction to do

Reacting, Okupe said the crisis in the state was caused by disregard for rules and laws.

According to him ,while the judiciary can help to put things right ,the best way to end the festering crisis is to proffer a  political solution.

“That is a total misfortune, and the real issue, if we look at it properly, is that we do not obey our laws. if only we obey our laws, this situation cannot surface at all.

“The courts have to help, the judiciary must be consistent, fair and judge according to law not any other sentiment

“Let us all obey our laws and our rules and let the court adjudicate according to theb law and anybody who flouts the law should pay for it.

“The way things are going in Rivers  right now  is dangerous, but a political solution is what I will suggest, as a very experienced politician,”he said.

Emphasising the need for a political solution ,Okupe said politics is about interest and that the crisis would end if the interests of the disagreeing parties are discussed and reconciled.

He said: “In all my years of politics, I have never seen anything in this world that a political solution cannot resolve in all political disagreements.

“Politics is about interest- What is the interest of A and what is the interest of B and how can we marry them? That’s is all,” he said.

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