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“As E Dey Pain Dem, E Dey Sweet Us”: Wike’s Song Resonates As Fubara Says ‘I’m Not Fighting Anybody, My Mission Is To Defend Rivers People’s Mandate’

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Governor Siminalayi Fubara





..Woos investors, declares state safe for investment

..In support of governor, two NASS members lead solidarity walk in P’Harcourt

..Ijaw group urges Tinubu to call Wike to order

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..LP guber candidate sues for peace, says crisis affecting livelihood in Rivers

..As 10 Commissioners Resign

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

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In what appeared to be a definite public statement since the face-off between him and his benefactor, Rivers State Governor, Mr. Siminalayi Fubara, yesterday, said he was preoccupied with delivering his mandate by attending to the needs of the people and protecting the interest of the State, even as no fewer than 10 members of the State Executive Council have resigned in the past 48 hours.

Fubara, also stressed that he was not interested in fighting anybody.This came on the heels of two members of the House of Representatives leading a crowd of youths to stage a peaceful solidarity walk in Port Harcourt, in support of Fubara. Member representing Asari Toru/ Akuku Toru federal constituency, Boma Goodhead and member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro federal constituency, Awaji Inombek Dagomie Abiante led the march.

The resignation of the 10 Commissioners raised speculations of whether they were dumping the Fubara cabinet or were asked to leave. The commissioners who have so far resigned included: Chukwuemeka Woke (Special Duties), Alabo George-Kelly (Works), Isaac Kamalu (Finance) Inime Chinwenwo Aguma (Social Welfare and Rehabilitation), Zaccheaus Adangor (Justice) and Chinedu Mmom (Education). Others are Jacobson Nbina (Transport) and Gift Worlu (Housing), Austin Ben-Chioma (Environment) and Commissioner for Bureau of public procurement in the state.

The Commissioners were said to have been nominees of former governor and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike and were cabinet members of his administration who he had foisted on Fubara.But the Ijaw social cultural body group under the aegis Ijaw National Congress (INC) yesterday, called on President Bola Tinubu to call Wike to order over the political crisis in Rivers State.

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Fubara, reacting to the recent happenings in the state, made the assertion while inaugurating 20,000 housing units for low income earners in the State, adjacent the OPM Headquarters, Mbodo-Aluu, along International Airport road, Ikwerre Local Government Area. The governor explained that in protecting the interest of the State, his administration would continue to do what was right before God and men while encouraging a robust participation of the people in governance.

“For our people, I want to assure you, our government has nothing to do with fighting anybody. Our governance is to take care and defend our people. I can assure you here, that this is the beginning of our service to the people of Rivers State. “It is not service to the elites, but to the poor and low income earners. Those are the people we want to stand with and we are standing with them from today,” he said.

Fubara, noted that his administration has started a new history with the 20,000 units of housing by giving new hope to Rivers people particularly the poor.He assured that in a few months, the first phase of the project would be completed and the housing units allocated to the low income earners through a transparent process.

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“I want to also say it here, let it also be my own commitment that this facility, once it commences and gets to the stage of allotment, it will go to the rightful people and not one big man to allocate to his family. It will be transparent so that the targeted people will access and benefit from it.”Fubara, remarked that because his administration has started reaping from its open door policy, as opportunities like economic empowerment, access to housing and other benefits are in the offing for the people.

“First of all, we need to give our people hope and today, I believe that everybody in our dear State has seen that light. How did we come about this magic? We opened our doors for negotiation and opportunities, knowing that government cannot do it alone. We had to invite people that are ready to invest in our State.“I make bold to say it; Rivers State is a safe haven for investment. What we are doing today is to let the world know it, and not what you hear in the media. I tell you that Rivers State is safe and secure for anybody anywhere to come and invest. Your investment is safe in our hands,” he enthused.In his remarks, the Acting Administrator of New City Development Authority, Mr. Aaron Obele, said the 20,000 units of housing would sit on a 1000 hectares of land.

Obele, stated that the first phase which started on a 100 hectares of land, would provide affordable houses in a striving and inclusive community for the people to live in.On his part, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TAF Africa Global, explained that the project was the largest housing initiative on a public-private partnership in Africa and the Rivers State government would not incur any financial cost in accomplishing the project.He assured that his company would be diligent in speeding up work to deliver it in good time, while also creating economic opportunities for the people.However, in the solidarity march which had hundreds of youth, Ijaw group and other stakeholders in the State, they chanted that Fubara was being intimidated and gagged for his alleged refusal to pander to the whims and caprices of his godfather, Wike. It commenced from the popular UTC junction and terminated at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

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Speaking at the rally, Abiante (Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro federal Constituency) commended Fubara for taking steps to renovate the Rivers State House of Assembly complex and showing leadership amidst the political crisis in the State. Abiante, also assured the governor of the support of his constituents to provide development for the people of the State, saying, “There is always a price to be paid for liberty and that is standing strong, standing firm”.“The governor decided after a structural integrity test that the chambers failed to give the Rivers people befitting chambers for legislative function and why that is ongoing an alternative has been provided. They didn’t ask them to sit under the shade or a mango tree.“For the illegal members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, not for those who voluntarily resigned and relinquished their responsibilities but for those who are standing with the Rivers people, who know they got there on the mandate and the sweat and sacrifice of the Rivers people they have provided an alternative place to seat.

“No king reigns forever, this is the time for another king who has been lawfully elected” he advocated.Abiante also justified the decision by the governor to demolish the House of Assembly building, saying, “there was a recent incident of explosion and it failed an integrity test, nobody will want to expose himself to that danger.”

“Is there a history of having to rebuild public assets, the answer is yes. The Mile One market had been brought down and reconstructed, the fruit garden had been brought down and reconstructed. The Assembly quarters had been brought down and reconstructed. So what is the difference. The difference perhaps is the public asset. When they had challenges, they had to be rebuilt and in rebuilding they had to bring down the previous structures that were there.“Some members have decided to leave the duty that were assigned to them. The constitution is very clear, the Supreme Court has made a decision in that, that if you leave your political party upon which you are elected when there is no division, you lose your seat.

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“As it stands today, we have members who were former members of the House Assembly. On their volition they decided to leave. They should be man enough to stand up to what they have chosen, the choice they have made,” he said during an interview on a national television.On her part, Boma Goodhead, two-time lawmaker in House Representatives, a relation of the popular Ex-Niger Delta Agitator, Asari Dokubo, said nobody would be allowed to pocket Rivers people in the name of appointments procurement.

She said, “The federal government is his pocket, the judiciary is in his pocket, the presidency is in his pocket, the Chief of Staff is in his pocket, the security agencies are in his pocket. But let us tell him that Rivers State cannot be in his pocket.“He said he procured every appointment with money, he can procure the appointment there with the money of Rivers State people, no problem, but let me also tell President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the people of Nigeria that this man, Nyesom Wike lies in advance. He is not consistent with anything.

“So please, we are tired of holding our hands. The next time any of these security operatives come into Rivers State to misbehave, any more problem from them, we answer them on our own way. We will defend ourselves and our resources.

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“Mr. President, you have won at the Supreme Court, tell Nyesom Wike that we are not going to take this anymore. No more will it be said in Rivers State again that one individual can come up to control Rivers State anymore. We are Rivers and Rivers is for us”. Goodhead, added that “Wike is nobody without the support of Rivers State, we gave him the glory and we have taken it back.”

Also, the INC yesterday, called on President Tinubu to call Wike to order over the political crisis in Rivers State.

The group made the call yesterday, during a peaceful rally in support of Fubara in front of the Government House, Port Harcourt.

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Speaking, the president of INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, warned that any further intimidation of the governor would be resisted.

Okaba, who regretted that the Ijaw people had been marginalised in the Tinubu’s administration, said “over 40 million Ijaw people are aggrieved and they are saying that a slap on Siminalayi Fubara is a slap on entire Ijaw nation.”

“Rivers State has been on the news for wrong reasons in recent times, but many believe that the intervention of President Bola Tinubu will calm, free nerves. We can no longer guarantee the safety of the oil installations in Ijaw land,” he warned.

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Okaba who expressed the group’s position on the political situation in the oil rich state, said “We are not scared of Wike. In fact we have no business with Wike, we are only talking to Mr. President.

“Wike is from the South South, he knows what Ijaw people can do but we are advising Mr. President, at this time when this country is preaching and working very hard to have peace, justice and equity.

“Wike has dared Ijaw people, we are ready for him. Where we are now, if it amounts to killing all of us, we are ready to die. Ijaw nation is die for this Ijaw course.

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“We want to tell Tinubu again, call your Minister to order. This monumental embarrassment Wike has caused to the nation and this act of dragging back development in Rivers State, is condemnable because we already angered with the fact that the government of Tinubu has marginalized Ijaw people.

“The Ijaws are the most economically viable in that state. We are noting all of this. But for him to keep quiet and allow Wike to misbehave shows that there is some tacit support. And we shall not take that.

“Since 1958, Nigeria has been surviving on the oil that comes from Ijaw land. Today, we are crying about marginalisation; we call it environmental degradation.

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“We are noting all of these but for him to keep quiet and allow Wike to misbehave shows that there is some tactics support. And we shall not take that. We are already angered that the government of President Bola Tinubu has marginalised Ijaw people. In Delta State, where three persons were picked for a federal appointment, none are from the Ijaw nation.”

Meanwhile, the governorship candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 election in the State, Mrs. Beatrice Itubo, has regretted that the political crisis rocking the State was affecting businesses and livelihood of people of the state.

Itubo, a former Chairperson of the State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in Port Harcourt called on the Minister of FCT and the governor of the state, to seek avenue of resolving the lingering political crisis.

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Itubo, who had visited the governor, to see how her party could help broker peace in the interest of the State, added that the people should be the utmost concern at every time.

She lamented that people were afraid of coming into the state because of the ongoing war, calling on Wike, Fubara all the lawmakers to sheath their sword in the interest of peace and development of the state.

She said: “Holiday seekers are no longer coming into our state, the hotels are empty, other businesses are beginning to feel the impact of the trouble that is going on and if we do not as neutral persons reach out to these gladiators and their fans now, a tome will come when we will no longer be safe going out of our houses because of fear of the caught in the crossfire in the hostilities.

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“May I as a mother and stakeholder in the governance of this state appeal to the immediate past governor of the state, Nysom Wike, to as a matter of urgency and as a father to immediately leave whatever grievances he may have against the governor.

“And the governor too, should on his part caution his fans to stop all comments on and off social media that may tend to further exacerbate the already tense situation in the state.”

Itubo urged Fubara to engage more mediators to interface with all the actors, noting that there must be sacrifice for there to be peace.

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(THISDAY, excluding rejigged headline)

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