New Telegraph

February 29, 2024

Rivers Crisis: Accord cannot supersede the law, says Inko-Tariah

Your former boss, Nyesom Wike said that there is peace in Rivers State, following the interven- tion of President Bola Tinubu. As a stakeholder in the state; is there peace in Rivers?

The FCT minister was just mouthing that there is peace in Rivers State. What we have in Rivers State now is peace before the storm. First of all, we are talking about the hounding of those who are perceived to be loyal to Governor Simi Fubara, for example, the chief of staff. Why did they have to move the case from Rivers State to the Federal Capital Territory? I am talking about the murder of the DPO. You will ask yourself a question; where was the crime committed? You cannot just move the case to Abuja. Wike said that the judiciary, the legislature and the executive are working independently and very well. Are you saying that the judiciary in Rivers State doesn’t have what it takes, the credibility to handle that matter, because the matter is already in court? It was moved to Abuja, so that he can bring to bear, his peasants and that is why most of us are calling the President to caution the Inspector General of Police (IGP). It mustn’t be political. We have not heard about those policemen who were with the commissioner when he was killed. We have not heard about them but you are hounding the chief of staff because of this political fidelity. Talking about the House of Assembly; we are going to have a very serious constitutional crisis. We must not allow sentiments to cloud our reasoning. The reason adduced for the defection, they said was an eight-point agenda. Must political settlements outdistance legal requirements and conditions? If that is the case, we don’t need the Supreme Court judgements anymore. We just need to go to the President and let him give a verdict on any issue. If he says you are guilty, you are guilty. And if he says you are innocent, you are innocent. We don’t need the courts anymore. We are talking about legal matters, where you have plethora of cases and defections.

Two major conditions; it is either the party melts or you have a crisis. The first time they talked of a crisis was when the party secretary who had gubernatorial ambition refused to resign his seat and someone dragged him to court. The second one was that “the president was doing well” This is not known in law and it is alien to the content of the judgement of the Supreme Court. As we speak, those persons are not members of the House of Assembly irrespective of the agreement entered into because that cannot supersede the provisions of the law. As we speak, we don’t have a speaker, we have only four members. It was on that premise and relying upon court judgment that the budget was presented. That budget was passed and you said it should be represented. Why do you want to represent that budget? The question will arise after your representation. On what authorities do you spend the monies that were spent? It is clearing the grounds for impeachment and removal. You have also admitted by representing that budget that Martin Amaewhule is the speaker irrespective of the court judgement. And you have been spending money all this while. On whose authority did you spend the money? In that case, it is an impeachable offence. He cannot even defend it. That was why I said that the governor if he represented the budget will be signing his exit card. There is no sentiment about it because they are coming for the governor’s jugular. They are only preparing grounds. Now, how many times has the state Assembly turned down the governor? They kept overriding the veto of the governor and they said that there was peace. If you look at the laws that they came up with the caretaker committee, the caretaker committee so to speak is not legal. Even Wike himself started the caretake committee arrangement. There were local government chairmen that he removed through the instrumentality of the court and appointed caretaker committee chairmen. It is not even time for the election and you are shouting that you don’t want a caretaker committee. They are scared that the governor might want to influence the election of local government chairmen. If he cannot come up with a caretaker committee, he can still be in control and that is why he is responsible for all these laws.

You highlighted a few things to demonstrate the fact that there is no love was lost be- tween the governor and the House of Assembly, and that there is no peace yet despite the accord brokered by the President. What is the way forward?

I think the tranquillizing drug of calmness that the governor has taken is yet to expire. That is why a lot of us Rivers people are saying, that we have to be on the side of the law. Sadly, I must say that the governor is not even ready to assert himself and we don’t even know why. A lot of us are worried because it’s not about Fubara; it is about the office that symbolizes the struggle. It’s just about the Office of the Governor. It could have been any other person. When you see Rivers people troop out to support the governor; it is not about Fubara, it’s a referendum against dictatorship. Even elders of the state like Rufus Ada George and co are involved in the struggle and it cuts across party lines. Some of them are even apolitical. Even when they invited the governor, he turned down the invitation. So, you don’t even know his thinking and mindset. Rivers people are saying we are not just talking about Fubara, we are talking about our state. Even Fubara cannot just wake up and say he wants to sell the government house. We are going to protest; we won’t let him do that. What we want is for the rule of law to prevail. With the rule of law, 70 per cent of the problem would have been solved.

Why are you drinking painkill- ers for somebody who says he doesn’t have pain? Some will see you as a busybody because the governor has said that he and Wike are one and that he will make peace with him. Why are you bothered?

First and foremost, I will not sit down and watch you murder your son because he is your son. Secondly, if it is between father and son, they should go to the bedroom and fight and not use the state as a ring. We are not interested in whether you slap former Governor Wike or Wike slaps you. This has to do with the state and we are all stakeholders.

It’s no longer in your hands because when these people made plans on how to win elections, you didn’t know the agreement between them. Fubara is like a woman in love…

We are not bothered about what goes on between father and son. It is affecting governance and it is also affecting us. Nothing is happening in Rivers State in terms of human capital development and infrastructural development. So, we are worried. Wike was governor for eight years; he has gone. Fubara will be governor if God blesses him for another eight years, he will be gone. What will happen to the state? If the likes of Diete Spiff had toed this path, we wouldn’t have had Rivers State today. So, that is the problem.

Why are some people in Rivers accusing the police of taking side?

In the administration of justice, you don’t cherry-pick. The matter is already before a High Court in Rivers State. What is that vested interest in moving the matter to Abuja? In that same matter; you don’t have any evidence yet you are hounding the chief of staff because of his fidelity to the governor. In that same matter, we are yet to hear of the prosecution of the police officers who abandoned their DPO and ran away. You also look at the antecedents. During the election, certain people were hounded for daring to declare their intentions.

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