Rivers State has continued to present difficult political lessons difficult for students of politics. This is no less in every stage of the political wars in the state including the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment which affirmed Sim Fubara as governor of the state.
Since the verdict on Thursday, January 25, 2024, there has been jubilation in ‘wrong’ quarters and gloom in ‘right’ camps. For instance, it was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Tonye Cole, that dragged Fubara to the tribunal and thus the apex court.
He was the first to congratulate same Fubara for the victory in the Supreme Court, and the jubilation spread to most APC nooks and crannies.
The camps of the PDP that won the governorship election has rather remained cold as if they lost, and many say, truly they lost.
Ex-governor now FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, who said he bought the nomination form for Fubara and others, has not been quoted to have congratulated his godson or hailed the apex court. The 23 local council chairmen that form the strongest bulwark of the PDP have remained silent whereas the losing APC chapters have continued to rejoice.
This irony seems difficult to outsiders but is easy to understand back home. Wike, most other PDP battle men that fought to install their party candidate have since drifted in mind, at least, to the then opposition party, the APC. Some 27 of the lawmakers and some other big wigs have openly defected to the APC.
It is now the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi faction of the Rivers APC that seems happy that the PDP man, Fubara, won. The summary, according to some APC insiders, is that in Rivers State, with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu tacit or even overt support, the APC has become PDP and PDP has become APC.
The way Fubara greeted also showed that the state is deep in irony. The PDP governor greeted APC lord, Tinubu, and also extended hand of fellowship to work together to his presumed political godfather, Wike.
He has also thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for what he called the fatherly role in trying to resolve the political crisis in the state.
Fubara has thanked the Rivers people and says he owed gratitude to them and many others after his final clearance to sit well as governor at the end of the long court processes.
In appreciation, Fubara reacted by declaring his resolve to remain committed to the purpose for which he was elected, saying he would not allow anything to distract governance.
Addressing newsmen, Fubara restated his avowed commitment to governance r of Rivers State, saying his triumph at the Supreme Court has laid to rest the legal battles that added to the distractions his administration grappled with in the last eight months.
“And the good news that came to us this morning is a refreshing strength that will encourage us to continue the good works in governance.”
Commissioners: victims of crossfire
With Fubara now in the clear, he has looked back and picked up the nine commissioners that resigned but were recently rescreened. They were sworn in Friday, January 26, 2024.
Fubara made a sterling remark, saying he knew they were cold. He said they were victims of crossfire. It was gathered some time ago that some of the commissioners sneaked word to their colleagues then that they were going with heavy hearts because they had no case against the governor but must obey an order.
Readmitting them, some of who were his bosses in the last, Fubara said that it was imperative for the newly sworn-in commissioners to engage in activities for which they will be positively remembered by posterity.
“I wish you well in your coming back. Stand for justice, and stand for the interests of our dear state. That is the purpose of your appointment and that is the truth.
“I can see how heavy your hearts are. But I assure you that I don’t have anything against anyone of you. You were caught in between during the crossfire.”
“I will advise that you give your best. Like I said the first time, let this State and posterity remember you for what is good.”
The apex temple of justice has spoken – Elders
Since some elders were said to have met in Abuja with the FCT Minister and gave a position on the Rivers crisis ostensibly in favour of Wike, another group of elders has emerged as if in response to the outcry that their verdict or peace plan was not elderly enough.
Now, another forum of elders led by Rufus Ada-George (onetime governor) has emerged that seems to be pushing harder than the former.
Now, they met and rose to say the temple of justice has spoken. They thus congratulated Fubara and the deputy governor, Ngozi Ordu.
The forum called on all camps to sheath the sword and work for unity. “This judgment lays to rest the era of strong men, but protects and encourages strong and viable institutions.”
They demanded of Fubara to govern with the fear of God and in the dictates of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Some of them urged the leaders to observe boundaries and respect others because good boundaries make good neighbours.