• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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BusinessDay

Rivers update: Resignations signal hardening of positions in camps for final showdown

I will rather fight back with projects and economic prosperity – Fubara

Two heavyweight commissioners resigned from the Sim Fubara cabinet citing differences with the governor. They had just been deployed to new ministries (from Justice to Special Duties, and from Finance to Employment).

Already, all eyes around Nigeria seem to be on Rivers State where a godfather is in vicious grip with his godson in what seems to be the biggest fight between people who worked together to capture power.

Every week, outsiders want to know what is new. Many want to know if things would get better so that serious development through planning and partnerships can begin.

Others may want to know if the troubles are getting worse so they can plot better how to overthrow Rivers as king of the Niger Delta. Some want to be known as ‘leader’ of the South-South, but it can only happen if Rivers big boys such as Peter Odili, Chibuike Amaechi, or Nyesom Wike (at one time or the other) crashed. Indeed, these Rivers important leaders seem to help in this cause, the plot for their downfall.

Now, in the festering political crisis in the state created by the attempt by the Wike-backed state lawmakers to impeach Sim Fubara, the sitting governor that was foisted on the Rivers’ people by same Wike, every week is another turn of events.

Last week was about a ruffling in Abuja, now Wike’s new area of influence, where some supporters of the Rivers governor were arrested and or manhandled. It was a period when the caucus meeting of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held a meeting to decide the fate of the party’s national chairman. It seemed to end in smiles for Wike who is hardly seen to still be a PDP member, and gloomy faces for the state governor.

The arrest of Fubara’s supporters and the chase game that seemed to go against him ended in a week of revenue shocker.

The governor came back home to hit an upper cut. He opened the books and revealed that he now sees N27bn IGR where only N13bn was the highest reported. This immediately caused storms as a new subject of discussion emerged. Many began to ask where the N14bn per month was going, and asked if this was the real reason for all the political crisis in the state.

This week, resignations shook the state. It is not clear which camp is the better for the noise. Two of the returnee-commissioners turned in their letters: Commissioner of Justice & Attorney-General (Zaccheaus Adangor) and Commissioner for Finance (Isaac Kamalu). Both are lawyers but Kamalu was for budget and planning under Wike and now for Finance.

They tried to turn the knot a bit against the governor by making unprecedented statements as reasons for their resignation. Adangor said Fubara was interfering in his functions and was thus, working against the interest of the state by stopping him from fighting back in the courts against those he called hirelings that sued the state.

Kamalu alluded the governor dishing out wrong figures on IGR. Many seemed to laugh off these charges, but some others hailed them. This shows the hard political divide in the state.

The real apple is the upcoming end of tenure of the 23 local council areas. Each camp wants to capture the LGAs and use them to fight in 2027. The Wike camp wants the election right on time (June 2024) while no word seems to come from Fubara.

The lawmakers played their card by passing a law to make the council bosses (who are mostly Wike’s loyalists) to stay put if no election is conducted. Many call it tenure elongation attempt. Fireworks are going on the courts.

When Aso Rock intervened, an agreement was signed, but it seems to be observed with bad blood and in half breaches.

So, instead of both camps inching towards rapprochement, what seems to be on display is hacking on the peace rock. Nothing shows that any love is lost between godfather and godson.

So, the week ended with more signs of trouble. As the chances of any LGA elections disappear, the APC now backed by Wike says it is going to resist any unconstitutional decision of the state governor, while the state governor gives the impression that there is ‘no shaking’.

It is clear that both camps are preparing for a major showdown. So far, recruitment of supporters is going on in earnest with thanksgiving services, burials, birthdays, etc, as decoys.