In spite of the intervention of President Bola Tinubu in the face-off between Rivers State Governor Sim Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, there are strong indications that the plan to impeach the former seems unwavering.
According to Tribune, the forces loyal to Wike were reportedly unrelenting in their plan to remove the governor, who, incidentally, was a close ally of his predecessor, now the Minister for the Federal Capital Territory.
The camp of the minister had reportedly restrategised and was mobilising necessary means to carry out the impeachment of the governor.
The forces within the camp were said to have lobbied one of the major pro-Niger Delta groups that issued a stern warning against the planned removal of the governor, to denounce its current unfavourable disposition towards the plot.
The relationship between Wike and Fubara went sour following the botched attempt by some members of the state House of Assembly loyal to Wike to begin the process of impeaching the governor.
The personality clash got to a head when a section of the assembly was set ablaze by suspected arsonists, who have neither been identified nor apprehended to face the law of the land.
Governor Fubara also alleged that gunmen attacked him when he led some of his top functionaries to the scene of the arson to ascertain the level of damage done to the infrastructure.
All the dramatic twists to the rift between Wike and the governor triggered public outrage, including strong condemnation by the leader of the ljaw nation and First Republic Minister, Chief Edwin Clark, other prominent persons, stakeholders and Niger Delta groups like the ljaw National Congress.
Consequently, President Tinubu hearkened to calls by the concerned individuals and groups for him to intervene to avert what they described as threat to the fragile peace in the Niger Delta region.
However, it was gathered that the camp of the minister was reportedly still bent on going ahead with the impeachment plan contrary to the advice of the president for ceasefire and truce, ostensibly because of the implications for the polity and stability in the region.
The camp is said to be deploying necessary means to solicit the full support of the agencies of states with coercive power to push for the impeachment.
While some members of the state House of Assembly opposed to the impeachment process are said to have been stripped of their security, eight other lawmakers sympathetic to the plot are reportedly enjoying cover from the law enforcement agents.
Some stakeholders in Niger Delta under the INC, Ijaw Youth Congress, Pan-Niger Delta Forum have individually spoken on the need for peace to reign in Rivers to avoid throwing entire the Niger Delta region into a fresh round of restiveness, especially because Fubara, according to them, is the first Riverine person to emerge as governor of Rivers since 1999 when Nigeria returned to civil rule.
Apart from being the source of crude oil, the nation’s economic mainstay, major global oil firms have multi billion naira oil and gas businesses, among others, in the Niger Delta region.
Out of the N27.5 trillion proposed 2024 appropria-tion, the Tinubu administration is expecting the oil sector to contribute N7.69 trillion from (oil) export.
In his budget presentation to the National Assembly, President Tinubu had stated:
“After a careful review of developments in the world oil market and domestic conditions, we have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of $77.96 US per barrel and daily oil production estimate of 1.78 million barrels per day.
We have also adopted a naira to US dollar exchange rate of N750 per US dollar for 2024.” Yet, the region still battles crude oil theft to the tune of more than N16.25 trillion in 11 years.
In its oil and gas report for 2021 alone, the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative said the country lost about N1.96 trillion to oil theft, sabotage and oil production adjustment.
Already, the INC, through a statement signed by its two coordinators, warned against the danger of allowing the current peace in the region to relapse into anarchy following the plot to remove the governor from office. But those behind the plot are reportedly unrelenting as they are said to be reaching out to induce the leadership of the militant groups for compromise.
Wike had shed light on the cold war after a meeting with some Peoples Democratic Party governors in Abuja.
“You cannot work, and people will begin to bring enemies; those who fought you when you were struggling for the person to be in office.
“Nobody does that,” the minister was quoted by the News Agency of Nigeria.
He said it was not true that he was seeking financial gratification from his successor, but had claimed that Fubara was trying to hijack the PDP structure in Rivers.
In the wake of the altercations that trailed the political crisis, Fubara had sounded reconciliatory in his speech when a military delegation led by the Chief of Defence Staff, Christopher Musa, paid him a visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
“There is nothing wrong if a father and a son have a problem, but I don’t think there is anything; whatever it is, we will definitely resolve the issue,” he said.
Last week, a coalition of groups in the Niger Delta region, the ljaw Renaissance Force, warned against action capable of jeopardising the existing peace and stability in the Niger Delta region.
In a statement signed by the coordinator of the coalition, Wisdom Oniekpar Ikuli and the spokesman, Sir White Kalio, the members called for caution from those trying to stoke the fire so that the prevailing peace and stability in the Niger Delta is not jeopardised.
The signatories of the statement said the coalition made moves to rally major stakeholders in the region to resolve the face-off between the two leaders amicably in the overall interest of the people, urging those the coalition members believe are bent on undermining the status quo to have a rethink.