New Telegraph

Rivers Crisis: Minimah Decries Godfatherism

A former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, has decried the phenomenon of political godfatherism, warning that if not checked, it could jeopardise peace and development of Rivers State and Nigeria. The warning came on the heels of the ongoing power tussle between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and Mr Nyesom Wike, his godfather and predecessor in office.

In a statement made available to newsmen, Minimah, who is also the Chairman, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in Rivers State, commended Fubara for his resilience in trying to rescue the state from the stranglehold of political godfatherism, in order to chart a new course for the state. He urged Fubara, to “free himself from the shackles of godfatherism” and embrace the challenge of leadership, to lead Rivers State to the promise land.

In another development, the National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum ( PANDEF), Mr Ken Robinson, advised Fubara and the Minister of the Wike to sheathe their swords and resolve their difference in a peaceful manner in the interest of Rivers State. Robinson, who spoke to Sunday Telegraph on the political developments in Rivers State following the seeming clash of interests between Fubara and his predecessor, said the two gladiators must avoid the snares of rebellion and revenge, which have plagued successive administrations in the state.

According to him, power tussle and unhealthy rivalry between serving governors and their predecessors had become a recurring decimal in Rivers State but had always left the people of the state shortchanged and slowed down the pace of development in Rivers State. “Rivers State has suffered enough of these political power tussles, which started even before 1999. In 1992, Dr Peter Odili was deputy to Chief Ada George and in 1999, Odili came in as Governor but didn’t have a good relationship with his former boss.

By 2007, he left the seat for his supposed godson, Chibuike Amaechi and the same bad relationship occurred again. Nyesom Wike and Amaechi were friends and brothers. Amaechi was Wike’s boss while Wike was his Chief of Staff and Campaign Director at some time. But everybody knows the relationship between the two up till today.

“If you are from Cameron, you can’t be appointed as a minister in Nigeria. You’re appointed a minister because you come from a state and it could be said that you are representing that state in the Federal cabinet. It is expected that you will attract certain benefits to your state. “Even though you are a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, your people should benefit from the national Commonwealth.

But we cannot point at anything significant that came to Rivers State in the eight years of President Mohammadu Buhari’s administration. The reason is simply because of the constant friction and altercations between the Governor ( Wike) and the Minister ( Amaechi). “Rivers people have suffered enough and we think that Sim- inalayi Fubara should avoid the snare of rebellion and the snare of revenge that we saw with Odili, Amaechi and Wike himself to their predecessors. We need peace in Rivers State. So, we appeal to the Governor to remain on the path of dialogue and peace.

We urge the Minister to also follow the same path of peace in the interest of Rivers State,” he said. Robinson stated that maintaining a peaceful relationship between the holders of these two offices was necessary so that the Governor can function as the Governor of the State and the Minister will in good faith, work with the President. He said that when all parties work in harmony and cordiality, the state and the people would benefit maximally.

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