Who are the real enemies of Rivers?


Rivers governor Siminalayi Fubara and Speaker Rivers Assembly Martin Amaewhule

By Opunabo Inko-Tariah

Rivers people have again been inundated with the persistent sobbing of the members of the 10th Rivers State House of Assembly, the latest being a press conference to pour venom and vituperation on Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his government.

There wouldn’t have been any need to dissipate energy responding to these urchins, but for the fact that every of their gatherings becomes an avenue for lamentations and disrespect for the office of the governor.

It is unfortunate that since the brokered peace by Mr. President, the Assembly has jettisoned every sense of reasoning and collaboration required of them to be harbingers of antagonism. Rather than show some sense of rapprochement and commitment to peace like the governor, they have tended towards becoming political traducers bent on rocking the ship of progress.

Their grandstanding has become completely nauseating not just to democratic ethos, but to Rivers people who are solidly behind Governor Siminalayi Fubara by their organic support.

Despite these unnecessary altercations, the peaceful disposition of the governor has continued to encourage him to acknowledge the value of every Rivers man or woman, and very willing to welcome and accommodate whosoever that wants to be part of the new trajectory of development in the state. In fact, members of the Assembly are most important segment of our society, and need to act in very decorous manner that should bring honour and glory not just to the people they represent but the entire state.

It is fundamental to state unequivocally that what the Rivers Assembly members are enjoying today is because of the respect our Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has for peace, reconciliation and development of the state. This is in spite of the plethora of legal tussles in courts by well-meaning Rivers people and sound opinions by legal luminaries on the legitimacy of their membership. It is further restated that neither the governor nor Rivers people are perturbed by their threat of impeachment. They should take note that beside the credibility question legally hanging on their heads as to whether they are still members of the Assembly, they have the entire Rivers people to contend with, if they pretend to institute any form of illegal impeachment moves once again.

I am only sounding out this for the records to save our state from unnecessary bickering that could snowball into crisis. Let us, therefore, be circumspect with our positions as such grandstanding won’t do any of us any good.

At a time when economic issues top the priority list of every responsible government in Nigeria, prompting collaborative efforts between the executives and legislatures to ensure laws and policies that would alleviate the suffering of the masses are put in place in various states, one would have expected that the embattled members of the Rivers State House of Assembly would focus on enacting laws to ease the immediate suffering of the masses and promote peace and development. However, they resorted to diminishing their political relevance by constantly pulling down laws that supported the Nyesom Wike’s administration which they were part of simply because Wike was stopped from a third term arrangement through Governor Fubara.

While the parliaments in other states in Nigeria are striving to make laws that promote development, the young men in Rivers State are engaged in promoting darkness. Otherwise what has stopped them from passing the following executive bills sent to them since October last year before they embarked on their path of perdition.

The bills sent for passage lying dormant on their desk are:

1. The New Town Development Authority Bill 2023, to decongest the single city status of Rivers State and promote the development of new towns.

2. The Rivers State Youth Entrepreneurship Development Trust Fund Bill 2023, to promote entrepreneurial growth, tackle the challenges of job creation and employment generation, and build human capacity in the state.

3. The Rivers State Investment Promotion Agency Bill 2023, to establish an agency to promote investment drive in the state.

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4. The Power Sector Regulatory Commission Bill, to liberalise the power sector and boost economic development in the state.

These executive bills, if passed, would see to the economic prosperity of Rivers State and even put infrastructural development and job creation on the fast track. But over four months after, the people who claimed to be RSHA members representing the same people faced with economic hardship in today’s Nigeria, have not even opened the file to, at least, see what it entails. This is because we are running an Assembly of one godfather.

Rather than attending to those people-centred bills, the Amaewhule-led coterie of political scoundrels have focused on amending and repealing laws that are of no relevance to alleviating the persisting economic challenges faced by the people of Rivers State.

On Saturday, in their usual rash and brash manner, they threatened to commence another impeachment proceeding against the governor in their chase for vainglory. They have repealed several laws made by them even when they have not settled their defection saga. Wait a minute: Are they still lawmakers in the eyes of the law? This is with particular reference to Section 109(1g) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended

It is, therefore, naive for the supposed lawmakers to assume that such laws can take retrospective effect. There is a prohibition law restricting retrospective laws.

Why is Amaewhule and his co-travellers always entangled in unconstitutionality? Why do they choose to allow themselves to be used as political tools for destabilisation just to satisfy the whims and caprices of one man whose insatiable thirst for power and public wealth has altered the political landscape of Rivers State for bad and slowed down its developmental pace?

How long will the people of Rivers State continue to be denied of effective legislation at this time of economic instability and insecurity while their supposed state legislature continues to play politics to the detriment of the prosperity of the state?

A few days ago too, I watched some young men who are victims of the unemployment that characterised the Wike’s administration and whose parents were denied pensions and gratuities grant a press conference raining abuses on elders who have called for caution and cooperation with the Federal Government. Sadly, in the last few years, lack of respect for elders, traditional institutions and churches became the hallmark of the Nyesom Wike’s administration. So, these young men took after him as their master. They are certainly not role models for Rivers youths.

Growing up, we had thought that holding high public office requires certain level of dignity and sense of responsibility. But today, the actions of the likes of Tony Okocha, who was railroad into the APC to complete the design of Nyesom Wike to make two Obio/Akpor sons leaders of the two major political parties controlled by him, has become senseless, blind and deaf. While the NDDC where he represents Rivers State is in search of relevance in the development of the Niger Delta, Tony Okocha’s mission is to hurl abuses on the governor of Rivers State as part of his assigned task by his master. Clearly again, like father, like son.

The consequence of these rascality is that Rivers State, which was almost at par with Lagos State many years ago, has become a laughing stock. Where do you rank Rivers State in the last eight years with Lagos, Ogun, Akwa-Ibom etc? This is why the governor must be given the support and encouraged to manage our resources as he is doing to raise the bar of development instead of unnecessary distractions.

It is, indeed, time to take back our state from the claws of these political vampires who are threatening the shared prosperity of our state.

A word, they say, is enough for the wise

Inko-Tariah, a former Senior Special Assistant on Media to former Governor Nyesom Wike, publisher, and public affairs analyst, resides in Port Harcourt .

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