• Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Arrest of Fubara’s loyalists in Abuja sparks anger in Port Harcourt

Arrest of Fubara’s loyalists in Abuja sparks anger in Port Harcourt

…Deepens hostility between governor and minister

…As Rivers PDP demands for release of lawmaker

The fracas and arrest of loyalists of Governor Sim Fubara of Rivers State in Abuja during the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) meeting have sparked anger in Port Harcourt.

The incident seems to have deepened the hostility between Gov Fubara and his erstwhile political godfather, Nyesom Wike, now FCT Minister.

This is as PDP men in Rivers State have demanded for the release of a lawmaker involved in the police arrest.

The crisis began when two loyalists of Governor Fubara, including the lawmaker representing the Ahoada West Constituency in the state House of Assembly, Sokari Goodboy, were arrested at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Also said to be arrested by the police was a chieftain of the PDP in the state identified as Ezebunwo Ichemati.

The two persons were allegedly arrested by policemen outside the venue of the National Executive Committee meeting of the PDP in Abuja on Thursday.

In a viral video seen by newsmen, a lady who claimed to be a member of Fubara’s media team, said the two men were arrested on the orders of a Local Government chairman in Rivers State.

She stated, “All of us, the media team that came from Rivers State were together. The next thing – he (the LG Chairman) pointed out that they should arrest the present serving Assembly member who is representing the good people of Aboada West.

“The next thing that came up again, he started giving them instructions. He attacked Ezebunwo and tore his shirt.

“We don’t even know what we are doing here because he has ordered that they should arrest all of us.”

Media men gathered that the two governor’s loyalists were taken away by the security operatives.

When contacted, the Governor’s Special Assistant on Electronic Media, Jerry Omotsegunwa, confirmed the incident and called for their immediate release.

He stated, “They were there in solidarity, so why should they be arrested? Going there to show solidarity, they were not the only ones.

“A lot of governors also came there with their people and coming to picket some people on the orders of an individual is not it at all. So, they should be released immediately.”

Of the present 31 lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly, 27 led by the Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, are loyal to Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, while the remaining four are loyal to Fubara.

Of the four, one of them, a former factional Speaker, Edison Ehie, resigned from the state House of Assembly and was later appointed as Fubara’s Chief of Staff, following the protracted political crisis rocking the state.

The State House of Assembly has 32 constituencies, but one of the lawmakers, Dinebari Loolo, who represented the Khana Constituency 2, died in 2023.

However, a by-election had yet to be conducted to fill the vacant seat.

When contacted, the Force Public Relations Officer, Adejobi Olumuyiwa, picked up the call but dropped it immediately our correspondent introduced himself.

Meanwhile, Press Release, the PDP in Rivers State has condemned these arrests and detentions, urging the Inspector General of Police to order their release without further delay.

It is believed that the arrests were done under the supervision of the Ikwerre local government council chairman.

Publicity Secretary of the Party, Sydney Tambari Gbara, said in reaction to the incident that the arrest was part of plans by those he called enemies of the State to intimidate Fubara’s loyalists to provoke crises that could spill over to Rivers State despite efforts by Gov Fubara to maintain peace in the State.

“The arrest at the Wadata House where party men of timber and calibre from the PDP were meeting to forge unity in the rank and file of the party is another sad and embarrassing experience of unending acts of harassment suffered by PDP members loyal to Gov Fubara.

“It was unimaginable that associates and supporters of Governors and leaders from other states were cheering their leaders as they arrived at the Wadata House unhindered, but those from Rivers who came to identify with Gov Fubara were being harassed, intimidated, arrested and detained by the Police without provocation. We have time without number advised the police to remain neutral and not allow themselves to be used by political jobbers to settle political scores, especially those concerning Rivers State.”

The PDP also called on Rivers’ people, particularly supporters of Gov Fubara to remain strong and unwavering in their commitment to the success of his administration.

On the streets of Port Harcourt and in the communities as well as in social media, supporters of Wike have been jubilant. They have been trolling supporters of Fubara.

The Fubara supporters who have been calling for action have started reminding the governor that keeping quiet was dangerous in fighting the kind of opponent before him.

Political observers in the state this may make Gov Fubara to endorse bigger actions or allow his supporters free hand in the battles ahead.