• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Fubara: Torn between fighting and not fighting

Abuja’s court arrow hits Rivers N800bn budget law

Governor Siminalayi Fubara is perhaps the most embattled governor in the comity of the present crop of governors.

His becoming governor was perhaps, the easiest task amongst all other governors that made it in March 2023.

This was because an outgoing governor, Nyesom Wike (now, Minister of the FCT), adopted him as a political son and waged all the wars to crown him governor.

The problem is, that what was seen as an advantage seems to have turned into a big disadvantage. The ex-governor or godfather is said to ask for hands and legs. The governor was said to be in bondage. He was never allowed to cheat the people of the state during the campaigns. His godfather would speak and allow him to say ‘hi’ to the masses.

When the trophy came, the former governor was said to have appointed almost every aide and handpicked all lawmakers (bought form for each contestant). The result is that every government official from LGAs to governors is an appointee of one man, not an electee. Now, he who paid the piper is dictating the tone, and some are refusing.

That dispute has exploded on the scene tearing the Wike structure into two is no news. What is important is that whereas the people believe that Wike was vehemently fighting Fubara, the people believe that Fubara was not fighting back. His demolition of the auditorium of the Rivers State House of Assembly (due to structural defects, he said) is seen as the only fightback from him.

The Wike side is seen to have continued to eat up the ground in between, forcing their defected loyalists back to the parliament, forcing the departed commissioners back to work, and forcing the governor to retable the 2024 budget. Others in the Wike camp have pelted Fubara to force him to steer away from the LGAs.

Their calculation is to scare him away and capture the 23 LGAs which collect about N4bn every month from FAAC and huge sums as IGR with which they can prosecute any battle and any election.

Admittedly the presidency intervened but many see that as something that has not fully restored peace. The presidency ordered a return to the status quo. It is doubtful if the matter has returned to the status quo. Many argue that those who left the cabinet returned to the cabinet, but those who left the PDP remained in the APC. Now, it’s about forcing the budget back to “status quo.”

If plans work, Fubara would be the only governor not allowed to have any kind of say on the next batch of local council bosses in the state.

Those close to the governor say both his words and body language give no indication of a man ready to fight political battles.

They say he has all the weapons and knows all Wike’s investments, assets, and tranches, yet has no appetite to fight his godfather.

He is said to wholly rely on his God to see him through, but his enemies seem to be many. He has many aides and supporters to protect but by allowing all bullets to hit his camp, would he be protecting his supporters, his dependents, and his loyalists? Many are afraid.

A video has gone out showing how canopies erected by people celebrating his Supreme Court victory in Etche LGA were being destroyed and burnt. Many wonder if this could ever have happened during his godfather’s time.

The police seemed to openly take sides with his detractors. Nothing happened. They allegedly shot at him. Nothing happened. They allegedly threw water bombs at him, but nothing happened to his attackers.

He is still in his seat. That seems to be his biggest trophy so far. But, is he winning by not fighting? Is silence the biggest weapon of war? Do his opponents understand the virtue of silence?

These questions would yield answers in the coming weeks and months.