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Rivers State: Why is Fubara Sleeping on The Investigative Panel?

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Governor Fubara and Mr Wike

The immediate past governor of Rivers state and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike has been all over the place and on televisions serially counselling political office holders never to trust people who don’t speak when you are oppressing them.

No doubt, there is a lot of wisdom in that statement and it is just exhilarating to hear it coming from the person of the ex-governor. That means he is learning the hard way.

Governor Fubara has been going through baptism of fire since barely few months from his inauguration. Wike has been pushing him so hard that the man had to grow up in a hurry.

Now, difficult decisions have to be made and he did well to announce an Investigative Panel to look into how the resources and affairs of the state was managed in the eight years that Wike reigned.

I don’t know him and cannot say I know a thing about his brand of politics. However, probing the activities of the immediate past government in the state with the sole aim of unearthing the excesses if any, of the head of that administration will be the best thing that happened to Rivers State and the interest of its people.

Does Wike need any reminding that his decision to antagonize and intimidate his chosen successor whom he enthroned to cover his nakedness was a big political miscalculation and naked arrogance that will only lead to his demystification and/or destruction?

The activities of Wike and his gang in the state in the last one year was a blatant distraction to Governor Fubara and whether anybody wants to hear this or not, there is going to be heightened distractions in the coming years, all in a bit to ensure that the incumbent does not concentrate to deliver services to Rivers people. The essence is to stop him from doing well in office so he doesn’t have a strong credential to flout in 2027 when he will be angling for a second term.

While giving account of his stewardship in his troubled one year in office, the governor, Similayi Fubara had said, “we started this journey with a bang. We were focused. We were determined to make the change we promised with a sense of urgency. But then, somehow, we suddenly found ourselves in the cesspit of crisis barely three months into our tenure.

“It was not just an ordinary political crisis. It was a vicious existential crisis. But thank goodness, the worst is over. We have successfully defended our right and opportunity to govern our State and advance its progress in freedom, and we will continue to prevail.”

Saying Amen to the above prayer, Fubara need to be reminded in a very stern tone also that the worst is not over yet from the enemy camp. And the Spirit is saying to him: “keep a cool head. Stay alert. Your enemy the devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up.” (1 Peters 5: 8-9 MSG).

Irrespective of what may have turned out to be the outcome of the serial peace meetings and/or deals, between the estranged former governor of the state and his successor, Wike appears to have become the greatest enemy of the state he ruled for eight years uninterrupted, in view of emerging allegations of high handedness, misrule and financial recklessness as the can of worms is being unearthed.

It was at the swearing –in ceremony of Mr Dagogo Iboroma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, as the new Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Rivers State at Government House in Port Harcourt, that Governor Fubara announced that the state government would set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate how the affairs of governance were conducted in the State before he assumed office.

Those claiming that such investigative panel is out of law are rather outrightly ignorant of the law. Such investigation is in conformity with section 2 (1) of the Commission of Inquiry law of Rivers.

Let’s get this clear here: the purpose of the inquest is merely to gathers facts on the subject of the inquiry after which the governor now decides whether to proceed with prosecution in a law court or handover the case to the anti-graft agency to do the prosecution on its behalf or forget the whole thing. Investigative Panels don’t engage in the trial or conviction of any person for anything!

Rivers people have been told that contrary to the impression created by the former governor when he handed over to Sim Fubara, shocking facts are emerging from Government House Port Harcourt on the messy financial dealings under the tenure of Nyesom Wike as governor of Rivers State.

He had created the impression that he was not indebted to anybody. But last week, Fubara announced that he inherited 34 uncompleted road projects worth over 225.279 billion naira spread across 13 local government areas of the state.

As alleged, the state’s allocation from the Federation Account was tied as collateral for most of the loans the immediate past governor took for his claimed infrastructural development in the state. These are areas the panel should be looking at and finding ways to free some of the state resources so the incumbent can have what to work with. If not, Fubara would be grossly handicapped financially and may end up not doing much as a governor. Mark my word!

It is also alleged that most of the co-operative societies that benefitted from Wike’s grant were linked to former Local Government Chairmen of the 23 LGAs of the state. So the ex-chairmen should be brought in to say what they know, how much passed through them for that purpose and who were the recipients.

The tens of billions expended across Nigeria for his presidential ambition including huge grants given several states and governors and the money shared at the PDP 2022 national convention ground in Abuja- where did it come from- personal escrow or state resources? The money used to sponsor Aminu Tambuwal’s presidential race for the 2019 PDP presidential ticket, where did it come from- escrow or state resources?

It would be recalled that in 2015, immediately Wike took over, he set up an investigative panel to probe the financial and business transactions of his predecessor, Chibuike Amaechi. The panel eventually indicted Amaechi and called for his prosecution.

So there is nothing out of place for the incumbent government to ask questions on how the resources of the state was expended in the eight years of the preceding administration after all it’s all falling in line with that same “familiar spirit tussle in the state (read my last commentary on Rivers state captioned: “Fubara Vs Wike: Again, Rivers state and the Familiar Spirit Tussle.”)

Now, my worry is that the governor seems to have fallen asleep on the announced investigative panel. He should know this and know not just truth but peace that: a month is a long time in politics and if you don’t humble the adversary and his team, he will mess your political career up seriously.  Know ye not that the man behind your one year of “Jacob’s trouble” does not forgive and will fight most likely covertly as time goes on until he deals a devastating blow on you the opponent?

Without mincing words, Wike and his group are merely buying time and at the same time seriously working underground using money to scatter and buy over the governor’s strongest support base- the Ijaws while wooing the other ethnic groups in the state especially his Ikwerre people and the Ogonis. Now you know o! It will be at your own detriment to underestimate what your adversary is doing covertly and now working in association with some not-too-talkative very sharp brains.

This is what is currently going on underground: several prominent and highly respected indigenes of Rivers state and even some in other parts of the country are being recruited to reach out to the governor and cajole him to sheath his sword. It will even get to the point of the governor being blackmailed or outrightly threatened so he can succumb to the evil counsel. And if the governor takes such counsel, he is finished!

The findings and recommendations of the investigative panel should go a long way to serve as the iron shield dome that would give Fubara some peace to work even if the peace is that of the graveyard.

This is a game of thrones and Fubara must realise that you can’t enter a strongman’s house to free his captives without first binding him. The governor should know that he has to put on the whole armour so he can be able to stand against the wiles of the adversary for he is wrestling not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and wickedness in high places. I come in peace. God bless Rivers State!

(IFEANYI IZEZE writes from Abuja: iizeze@yahoo.com; 234-8033043009)

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