Transparency and Integrity


Ijaw Leaders, Youths Lambast Fake Rivers Elders Forum For Backing Wike


"Political Structures Not Anyone's Personal Property", Rivers Youths, Leaders Blow Hot.

...... Vow To Resist Wike's Intimidation.

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Leaders of Thought, on Friday, descended on a group of elders of Rivers State who recently backed the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, in his political feud with the Rivers State governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

The INC, in a statement signed by its National President, Professor Benjamin Ogele Okaba, expressed what it called disappointment in Wike for insisting on removing the governor and asked Fubara to “remain strong and steadfast in this fight for justice and stability of the state.”

The INC statement reads: “The jaw National Congress (INC) recalls that Nigerians were, on the 30th of October, 2023, woken up from sleep with the news of the failed attempt to impeach the incumbent governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Siminalayi Fubara, who is barely six months in office, by members of the state House of Assembly, a process believed by many to have been orchestrated by Mr Nyesom Wike, the immediate past governor and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

“The INC, with many well-meaning Rivers people and Niger Deltans, in spontaneity, condemned the attempted impeachment, as they saw it as barbaric, self-serving and capable of derailing the fragile democratic consolidation agenda and efforts, as well as generating crisis of unimaginable proportions in the Niger Delta and Nigeria at large..

“We are constrained to release this press statement to express our worry and disappointment over the insistence of Mr Wike to relentlessly continue his plot to unceremoniously remove his godson-successor, Siminalayi Fubara, as governor of Rivers State for no just cause, in spite of the intervention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and pleas from other senior citizens and respected advocates of peace and decorum in the national polity.

“We are also bothered by provocative and unguarded comments reported to have been made by Mr Wike (on the 31st of Oct 2023) at different public fora that the “…crisis in Rivers State is purely state politics, internal wrangling and is in no way an ethnic issue…and that political structures of the state belong to me and I will not see any one take them from me… impeachment is not a military coup, it is provided for under the constitution…”

“It may suffice to restate that the INC, the apex socio-cultural organisation of over 40 million Ijaws globally is built on the solid pillars of truth and justice, and is morally bound to stand for and by one of their own, His Excellency, Siminalayi Fubara, particularly because no one has identified a single wrong or crime he has committed against the state as a citizen and as governor to warrant impeachment attempt or any form of attack. It is important to note that politics is just one of the vital components of a people’s culture. Therefore, we have no apologies for being politically conscious of damning existential threat the case in point portends.

“Instead, Siminalayi Fubara has received accolades from all the tribes and sections of Rivers State and beyond as a technocrat with a robust sense of public service background, open and kind-hearted gentleman and very unassuming, humane, prudent manager of the meager resources available to him, and committed to the even development of the state; who does things in accordance with laid down rules and regulations and with the fear of Almighty God.

“In Rivers State, across political party lines and ethnic divide, the massive condemnation of the attempted ‘civil coup d’etat’ and the emergent pro-Fubara movement must be best underscored as a liberation movement from political tyranny, spiritual strangulation and economic disarticulation.

“It is not just an Ijaw affair as a few myopic minds intend to portray, but a matter of great concern and relief to Rivers people and Niger Deltans, hence the massive jubilation.

“Political structures should not and cannot be anyone’s personal property. Just as power is transient so also should the political architecture be completely surrendered to the succeeding leader in command and authority, in this instance, the incumbent governor of the state. We expect that in the same manner that the PDP structure built by Dr Peter Odili and sustained by Celestine Omehia and Rotimi Amaechi was bequeathed to Mr Wike, the former governor should, as a matter of political tradition, also properly and completely relinquish same to his successor. It is on record that Mr Wike served out his two terms peacefully without being terrorised, hounded and haunted by his major benefactors – the Ijaws who set the stage for him to attain his much-orchestrated Eldorado.

“Keeping the political structures and the incumbent governor under his armpit is an aberration with dire consequences for the human capital, political, economic and social development of the state and by extension, the Nigerian state.

“The Ijaw nation remains profusely grateful to Mr Wike for making our son governor of Rivers State. However, it might be necessary to state for the record that Mr Wike enjoyed great love and political benevolence from an Ijaw son, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who appointed him as minister and later aided him to be governor of Rivers State. His godson, Siminalayi Fubara, also served him in several strategic capacities as a very loyal and diligent confidant. As a faithful labourer, he deserves Mr Wike’s reward by way of support and providing the enabling environment to function effectively and maximally as the sitting governor of the state. A common African adage says that even when your biological son is crowned a king of your kingdom, you as a father/mother must accord him all the respects and entitlements.

“In the midst of this drama that has played out in the last few days by various interest groups, we found the recent Rivers State Elders Forum’s position statement more worrisome, misplaced, lopsided and repressive. However, we sympathise with them on their inability to summon the needed courage to speak truth to power and affluence. We unequivocally state that their views do not represent the ethno-heterogenic political aspirations of the majority of Rivers people in politics and otherwise.

“The INC wishes to remind those who may not know, that the Ijaw people played a prominent role in the emancipation of the Old Rivers from the then Eastern Region, leading to the creation of Rivers State (now Rivers and Bayelsa) in 1967. This is well documented. No one, no matter how mischievous he/she intends to be, can undermine the great works of Alfred Diete-Spiff, Melford Okilo and Ada George in building a united and prosperous Rivers State for all indigenes of the state, in spite of ethnic and class divide

“As crucial stakeholders in the Rivers State project where the Ijaws remain predominant in 13 out of the 23 LGAs, we must join other ethnic groups in championing the cause of ensuring that due diligence, peace, justice and fair play prevail and that no man should play God in the affairs of men.

“At this juncture, we wish to re-emphasise that our support for the current governor is solid and total. We can’t be detracted by characters that demand that he jettison the courageous battle he has started well. We also consider as unacceptable and appalling the demand by this same group of persons for a sitting governor to publicly apologise to his godfather as a precondition for reconciliation. They may wish to tell Nigerians what crime Fubara has committed against Rivers people outside his genuine desire to properly manage the common wealth of the state.

“Mr Governor of Rivers State, you owe Rivers people and the entire citizens of the Niger Delta a duty to remain strong and steadfast in this fight for justice and stability of the state because God Almighty who, of course, is mightier than all your foes put together, is your strength and shall surely see you through.

“We call on Mr President not to relent in his well-calculated effort to prevail on his cabinet minister, Mr Wike, to sheathe his sword unconditionally and support his own dearly beloved godson to succeed. This is because political instability in any state of the federation could be a source of distraction for his administration.”


Ijaw Youth Leaders of Thought speak too

The Ijaw Youth Leaders of Thought, in their own statement, attacked the Rivers State Elders Forum for what they called the biased position against Fubara.

The statement signed by Comrade Jackson Agbor (Chairman) and Comrade Moses Omare (Secretary General) reads: “It is glaring that the self-styled group, the Rivers State Elders Forum, is compromised and has taken sides with Barr. Nyesom Wike, the FCT Minister, over the current political crisis rocking the state. It is unstatesmanly of them to come to the public with the intention to cause more crises by applauding the ill-fated and widely condemned and rejected move by Barr. Nyesom Wike to impeach the governor by using some gullible and selfish members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

“We are highly disappointed in the Elders Forum, and we condemn their ungodly and blackmail-intended claim that the Ijaw Nation’s support for Sir Siminalayi Fubara is ethnically coloured.

“As elders, their position is expected to be a condemnation of the aborted plot of Barr. Nyesom Wike, and not to state anything more or less. The plan of Barr. Nyesom Wike was to cause unrest in Rivers State and use the opportunity to sneak in through the back door another man of Ikwere extraction as Governor of the state. This is the danger the elders ought to have seen and confronted instead of grovelling and genuflecting to Barr. Nyesom Wike before the glare of the entire world by shamelessly singing his praises.

“They failed woefully for not making it clear to Barr. Nyesom Wike, as expected by the world, that Rivers State is not his private company where he is at liberty to hire and fire at will. They also failed for not publicly condemning the attempt of those disgruntled members of the House of Assembly to impeach the governor who has not committed any constitutional infraction. They also failed the expectation of the public by not calling on all parties to cease fire and come to a dialogue to resolve the impasse.

“We strongly advise this self-appointed Rivers State Elders Forum to tread carefully and be mindful of their choice of words when referring to Gov. Siminalayi Fubara and the Ijaw Nation. The Ijaw nation is not at war with any neighbour and, therefore, should not be projected as clamouring for ethnic conflict in Rivers State. It is their right to protect their son if any oppressor is seen coming like a lion after him to devour him. It is a simple parental obligation the elders forum failed to execute. Barr. Nyesom Wike has also benefited from this Ijaw protection in the past.

“We state categorically that Barr. Nyesom Wike has enjoyed the support of the Ijaw people in all his political outings, especially in his election for the state’s governorship. The elders forum should remember the storm that confronted the Ijaw nation when an Ijaw daughter, Dame Patience Jonathan (against the interest of then governor of the state, H.E Rotimi Amaechi, and the ambition of an Ijaw son, Dr Dakuku Peterside), singlehandedly facilitated his becoming the governor of Rivers State. The Ijaw people neither distracted him nor conspired against him, but in all eight years, cooperated and allowed him to complete his tenure, not minding the occasional infringements on their rights.

“The governor is a peace-loving gentleman and has remained loyal and committed to serving the Rivers people even in the face of provocation and high-handedness from his predecessor. He does not deserve distractions and, therefore, should be allowed to exercise the mandate given to him by the good people of Rivers State.”

“We shall not hesitate to resist any form of intimidation from Barr. Nyesom Wike and his cohorts and may be tempted to cover the streets of Port-Harcourt should the need arise. We, therefore, call on all well-meaning Nigerians to rise and condemn these self-seeking elders who have been hired to throw the Niger Delta into political turmoil.”

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