By Comfort Obi
I have since been compiling awards to be bestowed on Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara. By my calculation, he has won quite a number of them. And just when I thought that “This man don try”, Fubara garners two more.
A Kidnapper And Murderer
They were bestowed on him by a Local Government Chairman (under him), Samuel Nwanosike of Ikwerre Local Government Area, who also publicly called the Governor a foolish man.
It is not that Fubara is the first Governor to be called a kidnapper and a murderer. That “honour” belongs to the Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma. But Uzodinma is a survivalist. And, unless
Fubara is as strong- willed as Uzodinma the awards could ruin his political future – assuming he still has one. For, I have since concluded that Fubara will be a one-term Governor. If he survives a first term in office, he will not get the ticket for a second term. His political godfather and nemesis, Nyesom Wike, who controls the two most powerful political parties in the State, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the All Progressives Congress, APC, would rather die than see Fubara have a future in Rivers politics. Sadly for the Governor, Wike’s words are laws in the State.
Unlike Uzodinma who fought his way through, Fubara seems weak, spineless, and too complacent. He is like a trash can. Any rubbish that is thrown at him, he takes in without a whimper. Otherwise, why has he not written to Security Agencies to call in Nwanosike and interrogate him over the allegations the Local Government made against him?
He needs some tutorials from Uzodinma. For, in recent years, only Governor Uzodinma has gone through some of the travails Fubara is going through and survived. Sure, their cases and circumstances are definitely not the same, to an extent. But only an Uzodinma could have pulled throgh that, and finally come out smelling of roses.
A Little Brief
When Uzodinma became the Governor after the Supreme Court unexpectedly removed the Rt. Honourable Emeka Ihedioha from office, he waded through a raging fire. An unforgiving, very strong opposition went after him.
He was called all kinds of names. A kidnapper. A murderer. Guy man. Supreme Court Governor. A vulture. A caricature of him would be put out with blood dripping from his eyes and hands. Add those to the brazen lies told about him, and of him. They included, but not limited to: Renaming Imo State University after the late Abba Kyari, late Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari; creating Emirates in Imo State, of all States, and appointing Emirs; invoking the prerogative of mercy to release his fellow guy men from prison; giving out hundreds of acres of land to Fulani herdsmen; marrying off scores of Imo young girls to Hausa/Fulani men; arranging for the unprecedented escape of thousands of prisoners from the Owerri Correctional Centre. And more.
But here are the differences between Uzodinma and Fubara. A quiet, smooth operator, not given to “too much talk”, Uzodinma won a number of his most bitter critics over – one by one. Only once did Security Agents go after one of them. After some sessions in Court to enable him prove his false allegations, he was forgiven. A prolific writer, he has since become Uzodinma’s number one supporter in the Media. As have most of those who used the media, conventional and unconventional, print and electronic, to make those serious allegations against the Governor. One by one, they became Uzodinma’s allies and strongest defenders. What they have not done, and I wonder why not, is to offer a public apology to the Governor and Imolites to the effect that the allegations they made against the Governor were fabricated; that they were playing politics; and that it was wrong of them to so defame and libel a man all in the name of politics. Fubara does not seem to have the clout or temperament to win over his adversaries.
Two: Unlike Fubara, Uzodinma had no political godfather breathing down his neck. He had no impeachment rope dangling over his head from the Members of the House of Assembly. Most of them were in the opposition when he was sworn-in as Governor. But within days and to the shock of their political Parties – Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA – they defected to the Governor’s All Progressives Congress, APC, which, before then, had no member in the House. In Fubara’s case, he lost 27 members of his Party members in the House to the APC.
So, will the Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, step forward to receive his awards. The awards are deservedly his. No contest, except for a new Governor who is desperately moving to depose him.
Pursuing Fubara, as we say in our Country, “bumper-to- bumber”, is Usman Ododo, the few-days-old Governor of Kogi State. If you watched Ododo’s disgraceful antics this other day when he was sworn-in, and more of his antics thereafter, your questions will be: “Who cursed this State?” Where were Kogites when this man was voted into office to shame them?”
Here’s Why Ododo Could Depose Fubara
In the public glare, during his swearing-in ceremony, Ododo knelt down to shake the hands of Vice President Kashim Shettima. The Vice President, a polished guy, but for his, somerimes, acidic tongue, was momentarily embarrassed. But Ododo was not done. From Shettima, he walked up to his predecessor in office, the Emperor himself, Yahaya Bello, and knelt down to also shake his hands. As if that was not enough, in one of the videos which made the rounds, Ododo, with his wife in tow, sprawled full length on the ground before Bello to thank him. His wife did the same. Ododo owes his new office to Bello, not to Kogites. His allegiance is to Bello, not to Kogites or the Constitution. Yet, Ododo was not done. He raised the ante after he was sworn-in.
Within hours, he reappointed Bello’s Cabinet members to his Cabinet, appointed Bello’s cousin, the one who has been having a running battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as his Chief of Staff. Then, he left the unprecedented for the last.
To accommodate the very ambitious Emperor Bello, and keep him permanently in the “gravy”, Ododo established the “Office of the Immediate Past Governor of the State.” So, you see. Bello is out, Bello is in.
But forgive me. I have since digressed. I was talking about Fubara. I brought in Ododo to put Fubara on notice that if he does not buckle up, he would lose his awards to Ododo. So, back to Fubara’s awards.
On May 29, 2023, the day he was sworn-in as Governor, he won the award for “Nigeria’s Boy-boy Governor.” He declared himself so in his speech. He said he would do nothing, could do nothing, without the endorsement of his powerful predecessor, his “Oga”, Nyesom Wike, now the Minister for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. He stuck to that.
● Fubara, allegedly, left at Wike’s disposal, the State-owned Aircraft while he chattered Private Jets to travel.
The Governor, allegedly, could not go to Abuja without clearance from Wike. He could not attend any meeting of the PDP or PDP Governors. At one public function, Wike asked the Governor not to frequent Abuja for meetings. Wike, thus reduced Fubara to a lonely Governor. Fubara could neither interact with Governors of the PDP, the Party under which Wike installed him Governor, nor that of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Party which Wike now works for and favours. Fubara swallowed that and more.
Wike appointed most of his Cabinet members and other staff members, including his Chief of Staff and, allegedly, Chief Security Officer. If Wike sends for Fubara, he does not walk, Fubara jumps and runs both at once, and hollers “Sir” from far off, so Wike does not get upset that Fubara delayed in answering him.
Fubara got his second award- the garagara award- about five months in office when he, surprisingly, foolishly, tried to exhibit some independence from Wike. I say foolishly because he should have waited until after his first term, get a second term, and “shown Wike pepper”. We never quite knew what happened. Or the story behind it. But whatever, he showed some courage when he rallied his loyalists and quashed a would-have-been impeachment by Wike’s loyalists in the House of Assembly. But it was just a little “gragra.” You know, noise from an empty drum. That noise has since earned Governor Fubara two more awards – the most humiliated Governor in Nigeria as well as the most Powerless Governor in the Country.
As you read this, Governor Fubara is just answering a Governor in name. Cleanly forgetting that he does not have any spiritual powers like our Lord, Jesus Christ, to survive a trip to Golgotha, he allowed himself to be led on to the terrifying place. Sitting before President Bola Tinubu in Aso Rock Villa for the big boss to ostensibly make peace between him and Wike, he was literally alone. He sat there lonely, like a cow in its slaughter place. In the midst of those who had little or no sympathy for him, Fubara looked dumb, dull as “dodo” and withdrawn
On that day, Fubara was put down, given 24 lashes on the buttocks like the Headmasters of old gave wayward pupils. It was the day he was stripped of all Gubernatorial powers. Like Zebrudaya of the New Masqurade would put it, Governor Fubara became Mr. Powerless Governor. With Wike maintaining an emperor-like dignified silence, Fubara was stripped of all dignity attached to the office of a Governor.
This Governor was asked to go back and re-present the budget which he had already signed. He was asked to withdraw all court cases against the Members of the House. He was told he couldn’t appoint Caretaker Committee Members for Local Government Areas in the State – something, almost, every Governor does. He was asked to work with his nemesis and Wike’s point man, Speaker Martin Amaewhule, a man whose stay in the Assembly remains controversial, having decamped, along with 26 others, to the APC from the PDP. Fubara was ordered to work with the House of Assembly members now strongly opposed to him and his Government. He was asked to go back and re-send, to the House of Assembly, for re-screening, his Cabinet members (appointed by Wike) who voluntarily resigned from office in the heat of his disagreement with Wike because they didn’t want to be seen to be working with him.
Fubara was so desperate to remain a Governor that he said nothing. He made no pim. He simply went back to Port Harcourt and began the implementation of Tinubu’s humiliating orders. He couldn’t address a Press conference. He couldn’t make a public statement to tell his story. He couldn’t leak his story to any journalist or media house. He could not resign from office and make history as the first Nigerian Governor who quit office to keep his integrity, his self esteem. His only response is one meaningless song – “I dey my dey, you dey your dey.” What’s that?
Now, Fubara has been tied hands and legs. He has been caged. He can do nothing. His Government is in comatose. He can neither move forward nor backward. He is stuck at a place. He is Governor only in name. It will not be out of place to say that Speaker Amaewhule is the Governor of the State. He overrides, so easily, bills not signed by the Governor. He orders the Governor around. He warns the Governor.
This other day, the Speaker warned the Governor about not receiving, with “alacrity” letters from the Assembly sent to him. He warned that the Assembly would stop receiving any communication from the Governor. He warned the Governor against making illegal appointments. Can you imagine any Speaker, when President Bola Tinubu was Lagos State Governor, trying that nonsense? What about Dr Peter Odili as Governor? These were Governors of Governors. Which Speaker would try that with Uzodinma, Wike (as Governor), or Emperor Bello who just left Kogi as Governor?
With the Amaewhule-led House of Assembly, Fubara’s Government is going nowhere. Nothing will work. He will be starved of funds. He will re-present the budget. But his budget will not be passed. If he had spent any money based on his earlier presentation, it will be held against him. It will be regarded as an impeachable offence.
Fubara has no political party to defend him. His Party is as powerless as he is. As docile. It does not even have the courage to expel the man who denied its candidate of the 2023 Presidency, and has literally, unbelievably, handed over Rivers State, a core PDP State since 1999, to the APC.
Fubara’s Cabinet is, mostly, made up of those who have no respect for him. When he says A, they say Z. A couple of days after they were sworn-in again as “his” Commissioners, they pointedly told him he was not their boss. They were conspicuously absent at Fubara’s Thanksgiving Service to celebrate his Governorship victory at the Supreme Court. It meant nothing to them. They are not answerable to him. Wike is their boss. Fubara can neither suspend, nor fire any of them. If he tries it, his own job would be on the line.
The Local Government Chairmen have no respect for him. He has no powers over them. Otherwise, why would Nwanosike, Ikwerre Local Government Chairman, call Governor Fubara a kidnapper? He accused the Governor of orchestrating the incessant kidnappings in the Federal Capital Territory. He said Fubara “is part of those supporting the kidnapping in Abuja because he wants Nyesom Wike out of office. Nyesom Wike will not leave office. Foul!” He capped it with: “Fubara is a foolish man.”
And Fubara’s situation gets worse every day. His Chief of Staff, Edison Ehie, has been declared wanted by the Police. A Federal High Court has issued a warrant of arrest against him. On Friday, the Police, in a Special Police Gazette Buletin, flaunted Ehie’s photograph, along with five others, in a national newspaper, full page advert, as a wanted man. They are accused of kidnapping, murder of a Police Officer, SP Bako Angbashim, DPO Ahoada Police Division, and five Police informants. They are, also, accused of terrorism, attempted murder, and arson. About five others, dubbed Fubara’s loyalists, are already in custody. The only reason Fubara is not locked up too, or declared wanted, is his immunity as a Governor. The day he leaves office, he will have questions to answer.
And Fubara does nothing. Says nothing. He is helpless. As helpless as most Politicians in Rivers State. What hold does Wike have on them all? It must be strong, so strong they all suddenly became dumb! Nobody can seriously challenge him. How did the oil rich Rivers State find itself in this laughable, yet troubling situation?
And now, will Governor Siminalayi Fubara step forward for his awards- The Most Humiliated Governor. The Most Powerless Governor. The Most Bullied Governor. And perhaps, the first Governor who could quit office out of frustration. Many people pray not. But why not? It will make sense, considering his situation.