To Consolidate Himself in Power, Fubara Reaches Out to Allies in Unlikely Quarters

To Consolidate Himself in Power, Fubara Reaches Out to Allies in Unlikely Quarters

*Visits Diri in country home, Mbata too 

*Ex-speaker withdraws suit against Amaewhule-led Assembly

Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

In an apparent bid to consolidate himself in power, Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, has begun to reach out to politicians within and outside the state, aligning and realigning forces, whose association he thinks can help him navigate the maze of political crisis produced by the recent faceoff with his political godfather, Nyesom Wike.

Fubara, yesterday, visited his nearest neighbour, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, and Senator Azuta Mbata from Rivers State, to seek further unity between the two states.
In a related development, which signalled the advancement of the peace process in Rivers State, the former factional Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Edison Ehie, withdrew his suit filed before the State High Court, seeking to stop the Martin Amaewhule-led faction from sitting and carrying out legislative functions.

During the visit to Diri, Fubara said he was willing to work with him to achieve a peaceful settlement of issues concerning property jointly owned by both states that were pending in courts.
Towards the end of his tenure as Rivers State governor, the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Wike, and Diri had feuded the jointly own property. Amid the dispute, Wike had ordered the demolition of a Bayelsa-owned property in Port Harcourt, and claimed it was unkempt.

However, Fubara expressed his strong desire for mutual cooperation, when he paid a New Year’s visit to Diri at his country home in Sampou in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Fubara said he visited Diri with some prominent leaders from Rivers State to underscore the importance of the unification meeting. He said the meeting aimed to open a new chapter in efforts to renew brotherhood between the two sister states and avoid attempts to allow administrative boundary issues to create animosity between them.

He stated, “The purpose of my presence today is not a mere visit, but a reunification meeting. Our visit is to let our brother know that we want to work together for a common purpose and the development of both states.
“We have a lot of things in Rivers State that are jointly owned by both states. I know we have not had this kind of meeting before, but we desire that from this particular moment, whatever the issues are, let us look for a way to settle them amicably so that we can forge ahead.
“I have always said that we cannot attain development in the face of crisis. We cannot help one another in a situation of anarchy. Peace is the major ingredient for development.”

Fubara commended Diri and the people of Bayelsa State for their show of solidarity with his administration during the political crisis that erupted in the state recently. He told Diri that if he accepted the brotherly handshake extended to him, then he would not sneeze in isolation because they would be stronger together as they forged ahead as one people.

The Rivers State governor acknowledged the fatherly role played by President Bola Tinubu, when he mediated in the political crisis.
He reiterated his commitment to continue to support the Tinubu administration because if there was no peace in Rivers, the national economy would surely suffer.
In his speech, Diri thanked Fubara for the visit and his initiative towards a mutually beneficial working arrangement with Bayelsa State. He recalled the ongoing legal dispute at the Supreme Court between the two states over the disputed Soku oil wells and the Bayelsa House that was demolished in Rivers State.
Diri pledged his willingness to work with Fubara.

Former governor of Bayelsa State, Diri’s predecessor, Dickson Sirake, was also at the meeting.
Earlier, Fubara visited Mbata at his residence to felicitate with him on his birthday and wished him more glorious years in good health.
Meanwhile, Ehie withdrew his suit before the State High Court seeking to stop the Amaewhule-led faction from sitting and carrying out legislative functions.
Ehie was rumoured to have been appointed Chief of Staff to Fubara after his resignation from the assembly function on December 29.
He had written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on his resignation, both as Speaker and the lawmaker representing Ahoada Constituency II.

Ehie had filed the suit, PHC/3638/CS/2023, in Port Harcourt challenging the sittings and the subsequent legislative activities carried out by 25 lawmakers of the Assembly after the declaration of their sits vacant.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, counsel for the claimants, I. Mac-Barango, drew the attention of the court to a notice of discontinuance filed by the claimants in the matter.

Barango applied that the court should give effect to the said notice of discontinuance based on the notice.
Defendant’s counsel, Chief Ferdinand Orbih, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), and Emeka Onyeka, did not object to the said application.
Ruling on the submissions by the parties, the presiding judge, Justice F. A. Fiberesima, pursuant to the said application by claimants’ counsel, struck out the suit accordingly.

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