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Political Tensions in Rivers State: Governor vs. Godfather

In Rivers State, a political battle is unfolding between Governor Sim Fubara and his predecessor, Federal Capital Territory Minister Nyesom Wike. This power struggle has its roots in Wike’s attempt to maintain control over the state’s political landscape even after his term as governor ended.

Historically, Nigerian politics has seen similar clashes between sitting governors and their political mentors. Often, the governors eventually break free from their godfathers’ influence, as seen in states like Abia, Enugu, and Edo.

Governor Fubara, with support from major stakeholders and elders in Rivers State, is gradually gaining the upper hand in this confrontation. Despite Wike’s significant efforts to maintain control, Fubara’s resilience and strategic moves are shifting the power dynamics.

Wike, who handpicked many of the current officials and lawmakers in Rivers State, faces a setback as 25 members of the State Assembly, loyal to him, have defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC). This move, intended to undermine Fubara’s administration, has instead highlighted the governor’s resolve to assert his authority.

The political turmoil reached a peak when Fubara was attacked by police at the State House of Assembly while addressing his supporters. This incident underscored the severe tensions and the breakdown of order within the state.

In response, Fubara has dismissed many of Wike’s loyalists from government positions and cut off funding to local government chairmen allied with Wike. The courts have also restrained the defected lawmakers from acting as members of the State Assembly, weakening Wike’s grip on the legislature.

Legal experts like Femi Falana and Wahab Shittu affirm that the governor’s actions are constitutionally supported. They highlight that legislators cannot switch parties without a national-level division in their original party, reinforcing the precarious position of the defected lawmakers.

As the situation evolves, Fubara’s decision to establish a judicial panel to investigate the previous administration’s affairs further signifies his determination to fully control Rivers State. With backing from influential local leaders, the governor appears poised to emerge victorious in this high-stakes political struggle.


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