Wike Apologises to Rivers for Choosing Fubara as Successor, PDP Insists It’s in Full Control

Police explain takeover of legislators’ quarters

•Secondus blames FCT minister for Rivers political crisis

Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt 

The immediate past governor of Rivers State and Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, yesterday apologised to the people of Rivers State for choosing Governor Siminalayi Fubara as his successor.

Wike’s apology is coming as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared that the members of the state House of Assembly who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) are mere ‘former members,’ and urged the APC and the affected legislators to forget any possibility of ever taking charge of the state, which the main opposition party said is now under its full control.

While the state police command has explained that it deployed policemen and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) to the residential quarters of members of the state House of Assembly in Port Harcourt to prevent a breakdown of law and order, a former National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, has accused Wike of being the mastermind of the current charged political atmosphere in Rivers State

Wike made the apology at Ogu town in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of the state during a thanksgiving ceremony held in honour of Senator George Sekibo, who celebrated 20 years of service at the National Assembly and 36 years of his life in public service.

In his remarks at the event, he appealed to the people of Ogun/Bolo LGA to forgive him, saying that people should be appreciative of those or whoever that is instrumental to their elevation. 

The former governor said God cannot come down to help people, but would use somebody to accomplish that, condemning ingratitude in the lives of some individuals. 

Wike stated: “My dear people, I came because I respect people who appreciate what God has done for them; who appreciate what God has used people to do for them. God does not come down. God uses people to help people. So, when you have been helped, you appreciate Him and, then, God will know you have appreciated Him. 

“I have never told anybody to worship me. Nobody can worship man. All of us believe that we only have one God. And it is only that God we will worship. And will continue to worship that God. But, as politicians, we appreciate people who have helped us. 

The minister noted that nobody could be completely free from mistakes, stressing that: “I have made a mistake. I own it up. And I ask God to forgive me. I have said all of you forgive me. But we will correct it at the appropriate time. 

“I am a human being. I am bound to make a mistake. My judgment can be wrong. So, forgive me for making a wrong judgment. That is life. So, nobody should kill himself.”

Addressing the lawmaker representing Ogu/Bolo constituency in the House of Assembly, who defected from the PDP to the APC, Wike declared: “Let me say this clearly; Arnold, don’t be frightened that anybody would remove you as an Assembly member. Nobody will remove you as an Assembly member. 

“Most of you don’t understand. This (politics) is our work. What l am doing is to make them fear; to make them angry. I have no other job than to make them angry every day, to make them make mistakes every day. And they will be in trouble every day. So, don’t worry about yourselves.

“If they like, they can go to anybody by 2 am, or 4 am to get an injunction. The law will take its course. We are not afraid. We followed due process. We must follow due process. We are not going to harm anybody. We are not going to give money to anybody to buy arms and kill anybody. We won’t do that.” 

PDP Insists It’s in Full Control  

Meanwhile, the PDP has insisted that it is in full control of Rivers State, and flayed what it described as a statement by the APC to subvert the Nigerian Constitution on the vacation of seats by the former members of the state assembly.

In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja by PDP’s National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the PDP asserted that all the Rivers’ legislators who defected to the APC have completely lost all claims to their seats while all legal considerations now favour the PDP.

According to Ologunagba, APC is only pursuing mere mirage by making unintelligent claims and trying to subvert Nigeria’s constitution in its recent statements on the vacation of seats by “former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who lost their membership of that legislative house upon defection from the PDP.”

 “For the avoidance of doubt, Section 109 (1)(g) of the Constitution is clear in providing that ‘a member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if – being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before expiration of the period for which that House was elected:

“Provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”

PDP added that the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have only themselves to blame for vacating their seats, adding that this course cannot be reversed or remedied.

“This is especially so as the Supreme Court, in the case of Abegunde vs Ondo State House of Assembly and Others, has since clarified and affirmed the import of the proviso in Section 109(1)(g) in validating the automatic vacation of a seat by a member of a Legislative House who defected from the Party upon which he was elected into that House.

“For the umpteenth time the PDP cautions the APC to steer clear of Rivers State; it should perish the thoughts of forcefully taking over the State and stop exasperating the public space by seeking to reverse the irreversible,” Ologunagba added.

Police Explain Takeover of Legislators’ Quarters

In a related development, the state Police Command yesterday explained why it deployed about 30 armed policemen and APCs to the residential quarters of members of the state House of Assembly in Port Harcourt.

The command’s spokesperson, SP Grace Iringe-Koko, in a statement in Port Harcourt, said the deployment of personnel to the assembly quarters was to uphold peace, and not for partisan interest.

According to her, the recent political developments in the state prompted the deployment.

“Our deployment in the area is solely aimed at ensuring peace and preventing any possible breakdown of order.”

Secondus Blames FCT Minister for Rivers Political Crisis

In another development, a former National Chairman of the PDP, Secondus, has accused  Wike of being the mastermind of the current charged political atmosphere in Rivers State.

Secondus also challenged Wike to account for the proceeds he allegedly collected from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for the Ogoni oil wells during his tenure as governor of Rivers State. 

Secondus’ spokesperson, Ike Abonyi, said in a statement that the former PDP national chairman made the allegations against the backdrop of Wike’s antics and incessant feud with Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

Secondus accused the FCT minister of demarketing the state because Governor Fubara had blocked all loopholes that could allow him access to the revenues in the coffers of the state.

Secondus also claimed that Wike had instructed his aides and political associates to continuously malign and sabotage the peace, progress, and prosperity of the state by ceaselessly attacking Governor Fubara and other leaders of the state in the media. 

He further stated that Wike’s media attacks against the political leaders of Rivers were “unwarranted and diversionary.”

“He had on an occasion mentioned that he is capable of causing a crisis and he is not far from the truth, as he is causing an unfathomable crisis in Rivers State. Mrs. Patience Jonathan and I worked for his emergence as governor. Have we ever breathed down his neck? Instead, what we get is disrespect and insults.  

Secondus called on President Bola Tinubu to warn Wike to stop overheating the political atmosphere in Rivers State and allow the governor the freedom and liberty to work in the interest of the electorate in the state who voted him into office.

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