Apopular ex-militant leader and Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, King Ateke Tom, has warned against inputting ethnic colouration in the dispute between the Rivers state governor, Siminalayi Fubara, and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.
King Tom appealed to all stakeholders to apply caution in their reactions insisting that the face-off was between a father and his political godson.
He called Rivers elders and royal fathers to as a matter of urgency unite and mediate between the warring factions to prevent further escalation of the issue.
The monarch in a statement issued on Wednesday insisted that no one should twist the issues and try to make political gains out of the development.
He said: “I strongly urge for peace and reconciliation in light of the strained relationship between these two leaders. It is essential that we do not give an ethnic dimension to this issue. This dispute should not be exploited for political gain.”
The king recalled that Wike, who is the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and hails from the Ikwerre ethnic nationality, was instrumental in making Fubara from the riverine area of the state a governor.
He condemned the ongoing plot to destabilise the state by reading ethnic motives into the crisis, adding that the impasse would not benefit anybody.
While faulting the move to impeach Fubara after less than six months in office, King Ateke Tom said such development was not in the interest of the state.
The king said: “I have observed with deep concern the ongoing situation in Rivers State. Our beloved Rivers State is currently facing a challenging situation between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nysemo Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“The current crisis must be resolved swiftly for the benefit of our state and its people. We should continue the path of development and peace established by the previous administration, which the current government is also following.
“I condemn the attempted impeachment of Governor Siminalayi Fubara within only six months of his administration. This is not in the best interest of our state.
“I call on law enforcement agencies to remain loyal to the people and not be swayed by political actors. The use of water cannons and teargas on the Rivers State Governor is unacceptable.
“I hope for a return to normalcy in our government and legislative processes, which will benefit our citizens and business community.
“I appeal to all the people of Rivers State, including political actors, Royal fathers, and the youth, to come together and prioritise peace, unity, and dialogue. Our state’s future depends on our collective efforts.”
However, the South-South Leaders Forum (SSLF) called on the Rivers state governor, Siminalayi Fubara, to exercise the full constitutional powers of an executive governor and take charge of his administration.
The national coordinator of the forum and former Publicity Secretary, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), His Highness, Anabs Sara-Igbe spoke amid the ongoing moves by the Rivers State House of Assembly to impeach the governor.
Describing the move as mutiny, Sara-Igbe said it was high time Fubara took control of the House of Assembly by sacking the Speaker and other lawmakers against his administration.
He said: “I think Mr. Governor should take steps. He has constitutional powers, he should take over the government. The governor should immediately summon the Security Council meeting to stop that mutiny, to discuss the security situation in the state, who and how was the the Assembly complex burnt and why was it burnt.
“For them to be looking at the governor and splashing him hot water, is a disgrace to Rivers people. And for you to point a gun at the governor, you have pointed a gun at Rivers people.
“He must take over the House of Assembly. The speaker and all the Assembly should be sacked and work with the few he can work with. Those who are not loyal should not come inside the House, and all those who are not loyal should be removed from the government House for safety.
“What happened goes to show that somebody somewhere wants to show power, it goes to show somebody wants to continue to run the state. A situation where somebody is a governor and you don’t have any power to appoint any member of your cabinet and someone will be telling the governor what he will collect from the revenue is a mutiny.
The elder statesmen insisted that Rivers belongs to everybody adding that the governor must be given the necessary freedom to discharge his duties.
He said: “Rivers people voted for Sim Fubara. I, as an elder statesman, condemned the crisis but I am not surprised because the law of karma will naturally take its place. I have severally advised former governors not to do wrong to avoid the law of karma and it will come when you do not expect it.”
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