The Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) has called on former Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike and all other stakeholders in the state, in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria as a whole, irrespective of political differences, to support the incumbent Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, to discharge his mandate “without fetters.”
While declaring their full support for Fubara, the IDC, which comprises of prominent personalities in the Niger Delta region, said that the recent crisis in the state involving Wike and his successor was a manifestation of the distractions that have cost Rivers State and the region colossal losses.
In a statement by Honorable Gesiere Brisibe-Dorgu, Chairperson, IDC, Professor Mondy Selle Gold, President, IDC and Amadabo of Ijaw Diaspora, Chief (Barr) Emmanuel Ezekiel-Hart, Head Legal Affairs & Vice President IDC, and Dr. Edward Agbai, General Secretary, IDC, the group said that the needless crises were most pronounced between sons of the region who occupy positions of prominence in Abuja and those operating in Rivers state.
They lamented that most times, those who benefit the most from the chaos are those IDC described as “Nigerian Beneficial Oligarchy (NBO)” who take advantage of the discord in the Niger Delta to benefit from the allocation of oil and gas wells, among other valuable resources, worth billions of dollars that belong to the Ijaw and the Niger Delta, but that are not being enjoyed by “any Rivers State man or woman.”
They identified the discord between then President Goodluck Jonathan and erstwhile Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi; the crisis between Amaechi as Minister of Transportation and Wike as Governor, and the current face-off between Wike and Fubara as examples of the tussles that have cost Rivers and the Niger Delta dearly while benefiting outsiders hugely.
The IDC stressed that this “recurring pattern of chaos and discord that ultimately benefited the NBOs” who have “historically taken advantage of political tensions within Rivers State to further their interests at the expense of our people and their development,” must stop and pave way for collaboration between the political leaders of the state and the region.
Insisting that they are ready to defend Fubara, the IDC stressed that though Wike played a part in his emergence as the state’s incumbent Chief Executive, Fubara is now the Governor and “must not be constrained or influenced by any external group, godfather, or godmother.”
They noted further that he must not be “seen to share his mandate and constitutional powers or the state’s limited resources with anyone within or outside Rivers State,” pointing out that he is neither “a slave or stooge to be hounded, humiliated and threatened at will.”
Full text of the statement reads:
IJAW DIASPORA COUNCIL ON RIVERS STATE: IJAW DIASPORA COUNCIL ON RIVERS STATE: Open Letter to the Citizens and Stakeholders of our Beloved Rivers State
1. What is happening in Rivers State could best be described as a diversion of attention to continue the unabated looting of our nature endowed natural resources carted away in billions of dollars. The Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) reiterates the calls of the people of Rivers State that Governor Sim Fubara must be allowed in peace to run the affairs of the State as the people’s governor with his mandates and powers provided under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as an elected and sworn-in Governor of Rivers State.
2. The Ijaw Diaspora Council is comprised of concerned citizens and stakeholders who profoundly care about Rivers State, the Niger Delta Region, and the well-being of our nation. Recent events have shown a growing divide within our political landscape, and it is with heavy hearts that we witness the animosity and discord, reminiscent of historical parallels, that has emerged.
3. The Ijaw Diaspora Council after conducting thorough research into the recurring challenges faced by Rivers State whenever two of our sons assume significant political positions, one at the federal level and the other as the State Governor. Our findings reveal that this situation has often led to losses for both the Rivers State and the broader Ijaw Ethnic Nationality, resulting in discord and its associated repercussions. Unfortunately, these ongoing tensions have been exploited by the Nigerian Beneficial Oligarchy (NBO) for their gain. The NBO has taken advantage of the discord in the Niger Delta, benefiting from the allocation of oil and gas wells, among other valuable resources, worth billions of dollars. Some of these assets include OML 108, OML 110, OML 112, OML 117, OML 115, OML 215, OML 216, OPL 245, OPL 246, and many more.
4. All these resources among many others are the resources of the Ijaw and the Niger Delta, yet none of these wells and its billions of dollars belong to any Rivers State man or woman. IDC categorically states that the attention of stakeholders should focus on those and bring justice to the Niger Delta than pursue instability in the governance of our able Governor, His Excellency Sim Fubara. Importantly the Court has intervened, and we want everyone to abide by the rule of law and support unfettered the mandate of the people of Rivers State.
5. It is a well-documented fact that the riverine areas of Rivers State have borne the brunt of ecological disasters, with devastating consequences for our environment and the livelihoods of our people. This suffering has been ongoing for far too long, and it is high time we address this issue. If we were to calculate the period from General Buhari’s military rule until the present day and consider what would have been possible if the resources of Rivers State had been shared fairly with the people, we can envision a different reality. Our state could have become a paradise on earth, marked by extensive industrial development, working refineries, and power stations that would benefit every resident.
6. It is pertinent to remind our people of River State, that the Nigerian Beneficial Oligarchy (NBO) sponsored chaos and benefited from it. We lost the value of a state governor and a first-time president from the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality. While fighting a false power tussle that has no basis and was not in existence, the time needed for the development of Rivers State (which came to us on a platter of gold), was lost in pride among sons of the Niger Delta whose attention was diverted from the real needs of the people.
7. Rivers State lost the full benefit of Federal presence and power of an Ijaw president and the resources open to us went to states of the NBOs. While the NBOs laugh and earn, we fight and lose in resources, lose in unity and opportunity of dual and consolidated developments. This was evident in the so-called power tussle between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi and Minister Nyesom Wike at the Federal level.
8. It is important for us to remember that when Rt Hon Rotimi Amaechi assumed a federal ministerial position under President Buhari, we observed a recurring pattern of chaos and discord that ultimately benefited the NBOs. The NBOs have historically taken advantage of political tensions within Rivers State to further their interests at the expense of our people and their development. The clash between Amaechi and Wike, both influential figures in our state, created a turbulent situation that has had detrimental consequences for our state and its residents. It is incumbent upon us to recognize the ongoing cycle of discord and the impact it has on the development and progress of Rivers State.
9. Former Governor Wike has made efforts in advancing the development of Rivers State, particularly in the area of infrastructure, which was made possible, in part, by the political structure created during the tenure of the former President, Goodluck Jonathan. He has worked tirelessly to consolidate and enhance the progress made by President, Goodluck Jonathan in the development of roads and various infrastructure projects. These developments have not only improved the lives of our residents but have also contributed to the overall growth of Port Harcourt, the heart of our state, even though there may still be challenges, particularly in the water-side areas of Ijaw towns like Bonny.
10. Today we are once again witnessing another sponsored chaos to prevent a Governor from the riverine Rivers State, after over 16 years in the political desert.
11. The Ijaw Diaspora Council would not stand to see once again two sons of Rivers State, one in the Federal and the other the incumbent Governor, face a revisit of the inglorious tussles of the past leaders that deterred and depleted the needed rapid development of Rivers State. We shall stand to expose every diversion meant to foment trouble in the state and defend the Governor, His Excellency Siminalayi Fubara.
12. The governor of a state is entrusted with a mandate and specific constitutional powers that are intended to be exercised in the best interests of the state and its people. It is crucial that we recognize that the Governor of Rivers State must not be constrained or influenced by any external group, godfather, or godmother. The governor should not be seen to share his mandate and constitutional powers or the state’s limited resources with anyone within or outside the Rivers State. By ensuring that the governor’s authority remains intact and unhampered, we can safeguard the principles of democracy and good governance.
13. While there is need for friendly politicking, it is important that we encourage former Governor Wike to not pay attention to those who want to use him against the governor, and that he should, with powerful influences in Abuja, work for the continuing progress of Rivers State.
14. The Ijaw Diaspora Council strongly believes that conjuring the perception of impeachment just a few months into the governor’s tenure can only create chaos in the State for the benefit of the NBOs.
15. We urge former Governor Wike to learn from his experience and give unfettered hands to the Governor, His Excellency Siminalayi Fubara. We acknowledge Wike’s great role in the emergence of Governor Fubara, who is now the elected Governor and not a slave or stooge to be hounded, humiliated and threatened at will.
16. We do not believe that Wike intends to cause trouble in Rivers State, yet it is important to remind him of his duty to support Governor Siminalayi Fubara, noting his own experience when he was the governor of the state. No one harassed or hounded him when he was governor. We wholeheartedly gave him our full support as elected governor with constitutional mandate, which emanated from the benevolence and love from the Ijaw people and structure sustained through President Goodluck Jonathan and Mrs. Patience Jonathan.
17. IDC notes that political structures are transient and stay behind the incumbent as a pillar of support, not as a pillar of division or disunity that would cause loss of concentration towards the consolidation of work to provide the dividends of democracy to all citizens of Rivers State.
18. As we stand fully with Governor Siminalayi Fubara, we urge everyone to work with him to fulfill his constitutional mandate to serve the people of Rivers State without fetters. In these challenging times, it is vital that we remain grounded in the values that bind us together as loving people, irrespective of our ethnic persuasions.
19. While we may hold diverse opinions and beliefs, it is our responsibility to approach these differences with respect, understanding and an open mind. Through constructive dialogue and a willingness to listen, we can discover common ground and collaborate on solutions that benefit all.
20. Let us not forget that the vibrancy of a healthy democracy thrives on the diversity of thought and a robust exchange of ideas. This very diversity has defined our nation and has been instrumental in our ability to surmount countless challenges throughout our history. It is a strength that we must cherish and protect, rather than allowing it to become a source of division.
21. IDC earnestly implores all parties involved in the current discord, as fellow citizens and members of the Niger Delta, to join hands with us in advocating for calm and unity. We firmly believe that political leaders, both past and present, including the immediate past governor and Minister, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, and other perceived stakeholders must work for or allow the current administration, led by His Excellency Siminalayi Fubara, to effectively conduct the affairs of Rivers State. This transition of power in a peaceful and orderly manner is not only a testament to the strength of our democracy but also a reflection of our collective commitment to the well-being of the great Rivers State.
22. We advise all leaders in no uncertain terms to engage in conversations aimed at bridging the gaps between us, rather than deepening them. Let us remain mindful of the immense power held by our words and actions, understanding their potential to either heal or further wound.
23. Together, we can serve as a beacon of hope and an example for our fellow citizens, demonstrating that even in the face of political differences, we can find a way to coexist harmoniously. Let us rise above discord and show the world the strength and resilience of our democratic ideals, reaffirming our commitment to the greater good of Rivers State and our shared vision for peace and development.
Honorable Gesiere Brisibe-Dorgu,Chairperson, Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC)
Professor Mondy Selle Gold, President, Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) and Amadabo of Ijaw Diaspora
Chief (Barr) Emmanuel Ezekiel-Hart,Head Legal Affairs & Vice President Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC)
Dr. Edward Agbai, PhDGeneral Secretary, Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC)