Rivers APC Chairman accuses Governor Fubara of reneging on peace deal

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Rivers State, Chief Tony Okocha,

Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Rivers State, Chief Tony Okocha, has accused Governor Siminialayi Fubara of delaying the implementation of the eight-point resolution toward ending political crisis in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that political tension enveloped the state in October 2023 when 27 lawmakers said to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor, Nyesom Wike, threatened to impeach the Governor.

The crisis reached a crescendo with the burning of the State House of Assembly Complex on October 30.

Worried by the development, President Bola Tinubu stepped in and negotiated a peace agreement to restore peace.

The APC boss, while reacting to the peace deal in an interview with NAN in Port Harcourt on Sunday, said that the delay in implementing the agreement was not good for political peace in Rivers.

Okocha, who represents Rivers in the Governing Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), said that the continued delay was a disrespect to the President and other political actors.

Delving into the history of the crisis, Okocha said the political quarrel began when the state House of Assembly was burnt, declaring that it was a deliberate attempt by certain persons at high quarters to make it impossible for lawmakers to sit.

“When the matter reached a crescendo and was almost turning into an emergency, several calls were put across to President Tinubu to wade in.

“The President subsequently invited all the stakeholders from both sides and we had a very decent meeting devoid of intimidation, harassment, duress or undue advantage given to anyone.

“During the meeting, Tinubu emphasised the importance of upholding democracy and opted for a diplomatic approach.

“Following the discussions, the President presented an eight-point proclamation document and handed it over to former Rivers governor Peter Odili.

“At every point Odili read each point from the document, Tinubu interjected and asked if we were okay, and everybody echoed ‘yes’.

“After all parties agreed to the resolution, Gov. Fubara, his deputy, Wike, myself, PDP chairman in Rivers, National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu and Martins Amaewhule, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, all signed the document,” he recalled.

The APC chieftain said that after signing the document, Fubara requested protection for his supporters against victimisation, which the President assured.

He said it was regrettable that the governor had been influenced by a purported elders’ forum to deviate from the agreement he willingly signed before President Tinubu.

Okocha noted that the governor occasionally yielded and, at other times, presented himself as lacking control over both himself and his administration.
Okocha recalled that the president informed Fubara that no other titles outside those recognised by the constitution would be used for the leadership of local governments.

“Specifically, the President kicked against caretaker committees or sole administrators for the local government councils.

“So, Gov. Fubara cannot, in his wildest imagination, continue to do as he pleases. He cannot continue to run the state without a budget,” Okocha explained.

Okocha stated that the local government chairmen’s tenure would end on June 10, with INEC required to conduct elections 60 days before the incumbents’ tenure expires.

He criticised Fubara’s governance style and highlighted the need for adherence to constitutional processes and agreements to ensure stability and progress.

The chairman threatened legal action to ensure compliance, emphasising the need for peaceful governance and adherence to the law.

He stated that the state was currently “sitting on a keg of gunpowder”.

“So, we will not stand aside and watch him violate the legal and constitutional agreement; we will not allow Fubara to disrespect the office of the president.

“Drafting a chairman or a sole administrator to oversee a local government is an aberration; only elected executives are recognised by law.

“Although, no time frame was given for implementing the resolution, the governor cannot run the state without a budget,” he explained.

Okocha claimed that Gov. Fubara, who was “an unexpected candidate in the PDP primaries, rode to power on Wike’s support”.

“The governor was not a politician but a career civil servant, but Wike sat on the noses of politicians and threw up Fubara who lacked political background.

“Nobody gives power for nothing without negotiating for something; Fubara has reneged on agreements reached in the bedroom,” he said.

Reacting, Rivers’ Commissioner of Information and Communications, Mr Joe Johnson, advised Okocha to focus on his duties at NDDC instead of misleading the public.

He questioned why the APC chieftain was fixated on the two resolutions, especially since the governor had already acted on six out of the eight resolutions agreed upon in December.

“The governor has recalled, and redeployed the commissioners who resigned, back to their positions – that is even more important.

“Gov. Fubara has also paid all the allowances owed to the 27 assembly members.

“If the governor refused to release funds to the lawmakers but went ahead to represent a budget to them, which one, in Okocha’s priority, will be better?”, he asked.

Johnson pointed out that Fubara had implemented over 80 per cent of the agreement, though President Tinubu did not specify a timeline for its fulfilment.

“The resolutions were agreed upon in December and, by February, Gov. Fubara had implemented six out of the eight proclamations.

“The governor is acting on the resolutions step-by-step. Okocha should stop chasing shadows,” he said. (NAN)