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Your Excellency,

As belated as it may come, please do accept my congratulations on your victory in the last Presidential election, and the seamless swearing-in ceremony that ushered you in as the sixth democratically elected President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Of course, your victory didn’t come as a surprise to many, given your antecedents as a democrat, astute administrator and, a go-getter. Whereas your track record as a political activist, especially in the wake of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election is self-evident; your exceptional performance as Governor of Lagos State is a clincher any day.

It is my prayer therefore, that the good Lord, who has brought you this far, guide and direct your ways to steer the ship of state aright.

That being said, Your Excellency, please permit me to commence this correspondence with an allegory drawn from our recent past. A few years ago, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was elected Nigeria’s President on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). You were equally elected Governor of Lagos State on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). This electoral upshot inevitably placed you in opposition to the government at the centre.

The dust raised in the wake of the elections was yet to settle before you disagreed with then President Obasanjo. The bone of contention transcended personal vendetta, or so it seemed. Again, it happened at a time when our democracy could rightly be described as nascent. You had approached the court to seek judicial interpretation on some grey areas of our constitution, as provided for, in the concurrent list.

Much as Obasanjo would have loved to have things go his own his way, he was apparently restrained by the grundnorm. And he recognized it was within your right to seek judicial interpretation as to whether he wasn’t exercising his powers as president ultra vires. That was the rule of law at play; a classic specimen of what we fondly refer to as the beauty of democracy in our political parlance. Above all, it underscored the centrality of the constitution in resolving state matter.

Nigerians gave you thumbs up for engaging Obasanjo and the federal government all the way up to the Supreme Court. Moreover, happening at a time when the fear of President Obasanjo and the unwritten federal might were considered the beginning of political wisdom in our polity. Of course, the constitution came handy as a leveler between your good self and former President Obasanjo.

In light of the above, Nigerians naturally expect a clear departure from what the Obasanjo era and the immediate past regime offered them as constitutional democracy. Whereas it is still early in the day to rate your performance in this regard, one cannot but acknowledge that you have so far shown that you have some listening ear. Your intervention in what could have degenerated into a total breakdown of law and order in Rivers State late last year comes as a reference point. For me, stepping in to halt the ship of state from complete derailment is an eloquent attestation to the fact that you place the security of lives and property, peace and harmony, and national cohesion over and above partisan interest.

You could equally have looked the other way and allow the crisis fester, since Rivers State is a PDP state. But you hearkened to the voice of reason, and that of well-meaning Nigerians, particularly, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, the leader of the Ijaw nation, and, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) to halt the drift. Notwithstanding your tight schedule, you took out time to summon the governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Joseph Fubara, his predecessor, now FCT minister, Barr. Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike and Hon. Martins Amaewhule who were the principal actors in the crisis to the Villa, and have them subscribed to a peace deal.

Although I had my reservations over the eight-point resolution ab initio, I refrained myself from joining the bandwagon in pointing out some of the obvious limitations in the document at the time. My position was informed by the following reasons. First, I didn’t see it as the wisest thing to do at a time when the crisis was raging like a wildfire. For me, nothing could have been more paramount than bringing the situation under control, which the armistice effectively accomplished. Second, I trusted your judgment, and honestly believed that you brokered the deal in good faith. I was therefore willing to give the truce the deserved benefit of the doubt by putting it to test. Finally, and most importantly, the governor who was in the eye of the storm was unwavering in restating his commitment to the terms of the truce.

However, three months after the deal was struck, I dare say, Your Excellency; that it has failed in attaining the ultimate goal of reconciling the warring factions. Instead, it had become the template for the palpable tension the state has since been grappling with. This outcome is by no means surprising to any discerning mind. And the reasons are not far-fetched. First, as I mentioned earlier, it would appear that in a bid to halt to the looming anarchy, the constitution which is the grundnorm was not properly consulted in forging the eight-point resolution. Also, a reexamination of the document reveals a certain degree of political fiat in its construct.

That the eight-point resolution has since triggered a plethora of litigations is only natural. That it has induced a near state of anomie clearly points to the inherent flaws in the document. That it has thrown up desperadoes and warmongers like Chief Tony Okocha and Engr. Samuel Nwanosike who now disparage, distract and outrightly abuse a sitting governor with reckless abandon is equally expected. As for Wike, the man believes the governor is his lackey, therefore, tongue-lashing, and outrightly threatening to give the governor sleepless nights are privileges he believes are within his right. But most worrisome, is the fact Wike doesn’t make empty threats. In other words, backtracking on getting the governor out of office, either by hook or crook isn’t just an option.

The truth is, some of the articles in the eight-point resolution stealthily stripped the governor of the powers and aura of his office; thus exposing him to the ridicule we see today. For instance, article three directed the governor to reinstate former members of the state executive council, who had earlier resigned their appointments from the state cabinet. Truth be told, such directive to a sitting governor, in the very least, leaves a sour taste in the mouth. Perhaps, it would have been a different kettle of fish had the governor whimsically sacked the commissioners because he suspected their allegiance lay with the FCT minister. But here, these supposed honourable men and women resigned their appointments on their own volition, citing “personal grounds”.

One would have expected Your Excellency, resolve the issue a little differently given your groundedness in public and private administration; knowing that trust and mutual respect took flight the moment those commissioners handed in their resignation letters. In other words, people with obvious reservations against each other cannot truly work as a team.

The constitution expressly confers the powers to appoint commissioners on the governor of a state. It follows therefore that commissioners owe their loyalty to the governor who appoints them. While in the saddle, Wike was unequivocal in demanding a hundred percent loyalty from his commissioners. And that was what he got during his eight-year reign. Granted that the commissioners in question were all nominated by the FCT minister as we now know; the question is, was it also within his right to direct their resignation at will, and then re-direct their reinstatement because the plot to remove the governor failed?
If you ask me, requesting Wike, the nominator, to nominate fresh persons in their stead would have created more semblance of statecraft, seriousness in governance and, more importantly, saved the governor’s face. It also would have gone a long way to demonstrate that some things are beyond trifles. Put differently, the notion that a crisis of that magnitude could be resolved absent collateral damage rest on a faulty premise.

Again, article six of the eight-point resolution apparently puts the governor in a catch 22 situation. Directing the governor to re-present the state Appropriation Bill that has already been passed and signed into law to Hon. Martins Amaewhule and his co-travelers, in my humble opinion, was another sore point in the document. I doubt it was a fitting consideration for a failed impeachment that shouldn’t have happened in the first place; not after the courts have already made pronouncements on the issues.

Your Excellency, I honestly believe you didn’t intend the current stalemate between the executive and the legislative arms of government in Rivers State.

Nevertheless, that is the reality on ground, as the governor, on one hand, governs the state with an infiltrated state civil service; and Martins Amaehule with his ‘Assembly’ members, working at cross-purposes with the governor, dish out all the anti-executive bills they can imagine. A case in point is the latest piece of legislation coming from the ‘Assembly’. Again, one wonders, what Assembly worth its salt, would seek to elongate the tenure of the current local government chairmen and councilors; knowing they were elected and sworn into office for a three-year term that expires in June? The question is, do we now enact our laws retroactively?
Now, to the crux of the matter, Wike is man with a history of political violence. His politics thrives in an atmosphere of strife and rancour. It cannot be over emphasized that he presently seeks to overheat the Rivers polity, and possibly make the state ungovernable. He is hell bent on accomplishing the intendment of a failed impeachment. His penchant for violence explains why Rivers State under his reign wore the appalling badge of a conquered territory. The state hasn’t exploded yet, given its current tenuous peace of the graveyard, is because, Gov. Siminalaye Fubara has refused to swallow Wike’s bait. In fact, his refusal to join issues with the man he calls master, and probably heat up the polity explains why restive Wike wants 2027 switch place with 2024 in the Nigeria political calendar.

Already, his vicious supporters are on the prowl, momentarily rehearsing vandalism and arson of public and private properties, with no qualms, even in broad day light. Sadly, the license to take laws into their hands springs from standing on Wike’s mandate. This much is evident in a video that has gone viral on the cyberspace. One would have dismissed the ongoing rampage as the man’s political trademark, except that wily Wike claims to be standing on your mandate, even though he has been most cautious in defecting to his supposedly ‘cancerous’ APC.

Your Excellency, is it not curious that Wike and his supporters are the only band daily chanting “On your mandate we shall stand, Jagaban”, one year after you had contested and won the February 25, 2023 presidential election?

Of utmost concern is the disturbing silence of the Police, the DSS and other security agencies in the face of Wike’s supporters running amok. Rather, than live up to their constitutional billing, they seem to unwittingly nudge the people to resort to self-help. And while they continue in their ostrichism, the fire is being steadily stoked by the man who thinks Rivers State is his sole enterprise, and to balm his bruised ego could unleash the unimaginable.

It is however reassuring that Your Excellency is no stranger to Rivers politics and its combustive nature. As Dr. Peter Odili’s contemporary as governors, you were well abreast of what transpired in the state from 1999-2007. You were also a major player in the Amaechi-Wike debacle while the former was the occupant of Brick House. In fact, you were purported to have saved Amaechi’s skin from the Jonathans, when, in cahoots with Wike, they unleashed the federal might.

You saw Rivers State went up in flame from 2013-2019, all for Wike to succeed his Ikwerre brother as governor in a multi-ethnic state. You were also witness to how the politically induced inferno incredibly extinguished itself as soon as Wike’s vaulting ambition was achieved. But while the carnage last, Rivers people lost their lives in their hundreds.

As governor, and for eight years, Wike ruled like a demigod, and the state, his footstool. He literally vetoed the constitution on Citizens’ Rights, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Association, Procurement, and Social Justice. In fact, one of the lion-hearted among us aptly tagged the Wike-era as the years of the Rivers of Blood.

Your Excellency, there is no better way to say Rivers State is presently sitting on a keg of gunpowder, while drifting daily towards the precipice. And if something is not done urgently to avert a repetition of its recent ugly past, tomorrow may be too late.

I have personally bemoaned the lot of the Rivers man since the dawn of the fourth republic in my book: The Rivers Season of Insanity. I would spare you the details therein. However, it may interest Your Excellency to know that as a Rivers man; I have tremendous respect for you, just as I envy what you have made of Lagos State. I’m therefore genuinely bothered that Rivers State may just be the odd state out as you are set to replicate the Lagos wonder across the federation. Rivers State can only and truly share in the Renewed Hope, if Wike is restrained from plunging it into another round of bloodletting.

Much as it is the truth, I hate to reiterate, that in all her abundance, Rivers State can only boast of the loudest and most vaulting chief executives ever, since 1999. The allure to graduate from Brick House to Aso Villa has become an elixir, which those we elect to govern have not been able to extricate themselves from. And to make a bad situation worse, it remains the only state in Nigeria that flaunts an obnoxious injunction that insulates her past and serving governors from the ethics of good governance, such as transparency, accountability and probity.

I have no doubt in my mind that you already saw through Wike and his antics. And it is only a matter of time before you reined him in. My concern however, is that it shouldn’t happen only after he must have thrust the state into another round of massacre. Need I say, that going by his claim, what Wike delivered in last year’s election were Rivers votes, not his votes.

Ask the Jonathans if their alliance with Wike was worth the trouble, given the benefit of hindsight, and your guess will be as good as mine.

In a nutshell, Your Excellency, Rivers State has had more than her fair share of bloodletting since 1999. It is against this backdrop that I most fervently pray that the blood of Dr. Marshall Harry, Chief A. K Dikkibo, Hon. Monday Ndor, Hon. Charles Nsiegbe, Amb. Ignatius Ajuru, Hon. Monday Eleanya, Barr. Ken Aswuete and several other victims of assassination be allowed to water the peace initiative and advocacy of the incumbent governor.

Finally, Your Excellency, in view of the above, it is my humble submission that the eight-point resolution be revisited with the hope that it guarantees sustainable peace and harmony in the Rivers polity.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Thank you for time and consideration.
Yours Respectfully,

Caleb Emmanuel Fubara


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