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Clark To Tinubu: Halt Threatening Crisis In Rivers State




'I Am Not Surprised' - Edwin Clark Reacts As ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions Against Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso

Prominent South-South leader and former Federal Commissioner for Information, Edwin Clark, has called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to urgently intervene in the escalating political crisis in Rivers State.

In a compelling letter dated June 25, 2024, Chief Clark expressed deep concerns over the tensions stirred by the current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Nyesom Wike.

Chief Clark’s letter, which was made public to journalists in Abuja, urged President Tinubu to take immediate actions to stabilize the volatile political situation in Rivers State.

He emphasized the need for the President to exert his influence over Minister Nyesom Wike, urging him to allow the duly elected Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, to govern peacefully. Clark highlighted that Wike, a former governor of Rivers State himself, appeared unreceptive to fostering peace.

The letter, titled “CHIEF CLARK BESEECH PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU TO HALT THE THREATENING POLITICAL CRISIS IN RIVERS STATE,” conveys a stark warning. Clark cautioned that failing to address the crisis promptly might lead to widespread instability.

He drew a vivid analogy, comparing the situation to “the proverbial Caesar sitting on his oars when Rome was burning” and described the escalating tensions as a “banana peel” that could endanger broader regional peace.

Clark said, “I wish to congratulate you for your prompt action taken by the Presidency to douse the political tension in Rivers State. Mr. Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser on Media to Mr. President disclosed the President’s position during an interview on TVC on Saturday, 11th May, 2024. And it has been warmly received by Nigerians particularly in Rivers State. The crisis is no doubt will gradually died down if the statement is upheld by the Presidency, and it will enable us to face the security problem in other part of the country.

“According to the Presidential media aide, Ajuri Ngelale, he said, “I believe that anyone who believes that by their actions, whether it’s from the federal level, state level or the legislative branch in the state or the legislative branch in the state or the executive branch in the state, if they are banking on Mr. President to take sides on this matter, they are mistaking and they will be disappointed.

“I am now 97 years and by the grace of God while I may be in my last journey, I have therefore deliberately decided to address the Rivers State issues historically, factually, and courageously without fear or favour to anyone in the interest of Nigeria as a result of your Minister of FCT, Nyesom Wike’s continuous threat to remove from office the elected Governor of Rivers State. Your Excellency, you have done what was expected as the father and President of Nigeria, we are all happy to note that with the statesmanship statement from the presidency, the tension in Rivers State is gradually dying down and the peace and good governance is returning to Rivers State. Mr. President, we all know you as an experience and matured politician and historically, you have bravely passed through this way before when democracy was introduced in 1999, and therefore Mr. President, know what I am talking about.

“I am confident and proud to say that I have known you for many years even though we have never worked together but in our various positions, we successfully fought against anti democratic policies of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime between 1999 and 2007, and I developed special admiration for you when you boldly and courageously spoke against President Olusegun Obasanjo’s interference with your State Local Government system. You are therefore responsible for the growth and wealth of Lagos State today and Nigerians all over the country admire you because you never compromise your constitutional right as provided in section 5(2) of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria as amended which gave you the power and authority to manage the affairs of Lagos State because the constitution recognized the autonomy of the State and they are not subsidiary of the Federal Government. What changes now?

“Nyesom Wike has deliberately made a plan with the Rivers State members of the National Assembly to stagger their thanksgiving service and reception for over a long period of time where he will always have the opportunity to criticise the government of Rivers State and harass the Governor because the Governor must accept him as a political leader of Rivers State. It must be remembered that these National Assembly members took oath of office in June 2023. A situation which we now found ourselves by Mr. President allowing Nyesom Wike to rule Rivers State from Abuja while he is no longer the Rivers State Governor and at the same time performing his job from Abuja undisturbed as Minister of FCT is unacceptable; hence we are legitimately resisting it.

“Almost everything that Nyesom Wike had said in public has been repudiated by him (Nyesom Wike is indeed a man of contradiction and inconsistencies). From the PDP primaries where he vowed to support whosoever emerged as candidate, to his vow not to be minister, to his scathing excoriation of the APC which he likened to a cancerous party, everything Wike supposedly stood for have been repudiated by his fickle mindedness.

“With the exception of Governor Melford Okilo, who was the first Civilian Governor of Rivers State in 1979 when Nyesom Wike, only a 12years old boy was still in primary school, he has condemned every other Governor and President who trusted him and contributed to his becoming Local Government Chairman of Obio-Akpor, Chief of Staff to Governor Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of State Education by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and as a Governor of Rivers State also by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan. But today, he has abandoned them.

“The continuous activities of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, are clear indications that he is not ready for peace in Rivers State.

“As a former Governor yourself who suffered under the heavy hand of President Obasanjo and held your funds for several years, you can appreciate the unnecessary pressure and distraction which the Governor is going through by having a very high handed former boss breathing down on him with federal might. Let me ask, if not for federal might, on what basis would former members of the State House of Assembly who publicly declared to all; a change of political party and were seen carrying the flag of your party and singing the songs of your party still claim to be members of the Assembly. Is this not contrary to Section 109(1) g of the 1999 Constitution and extant Supreme Court Judgement as I referred to earlier? If not for the presumed federal support, on what basis would Local Government Chairmen whose tenures have expired refuse to vacate office? If not for the federal might, on what basis would Nigerian police whose duty is to keep law and order take over the premises of the Local Government Secretariats in the name of protecting law and order? If not for federal might, why are former Local Government Chairmen still parading themselves to be in office granting interview carrying out demonstration and enjoying very visible police protection? If not for federal might, why will the Police stop the duly constituted Local Government Caretaker Chairmen and workers from accessing the premises to perform their duties? If not the supposed federal might, why is the judiciary now in total confusion in the contradictory judgements flying everywhere?

“Let the truth be told to you Mr. President, Nyesom Wike is not ready for any form of peace. Therefore, I call on you once again, to caution Mr. Wike and call him to order in the overall interest of Nigerians to allow the elected Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, whom he, Nyesom Wike, claimed he made, to govern Rivers State peacefully.

“Now, Nyesom Wike is dancing around President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, like an urchin singing nursery rhyme, in his guttural and hoarse voice: “President Tinubu, on your mandate l shall stand”. President Tinubu, Wike is not standing on any mandate. He is standing on his opportunistic position as a Minister. If at the end of his tenure as Minister let us see whether he will still be singing on your mandate I shall stand.

“Mr. President, I humbly submit that given my age and status as a senior citizen of Nigeria, I cannot accept on behalf of my people any actions that undermine or violate the provisions of the 1999 Federal Constitution of Nigeria as amended. As you well known, I have served the country in different capacity including serving in the same cabinet with three colleagues at the time (General Murtala Mohammed, Alhaji Shehu Shagari and General Olusegun Obasanjo), all of whom later became President of this country. That some of us have kept quiet on issues such as this is not because we are afraid to speak out but for the respect and support which we have for your office. I have seen a lot in politics and governance, both in Nigeria and around the world. What may seem irrelevant to you today can become a major difficulty to the government in no time. As one old enough to be your father since you are only 73 years old, I advise again, let this small fire in Rivers State be quenched immediately and not allowed to conflagrate further.

“Specifically, I am calling on you to tread the path of great honour as a self-professed democrat in bringing the very troubling situation in Rivers State to an immediate end. This is because not doing so will appear as the proverbial Caesar sitting on his oars when Rome was burning. Let me remind you that the situation in Rivers State is like a banana peel, and if nothing is done early, could engulf everywhere.

“Once again, I want to express on behalf of our people in the south-south our profound gratitude and appreciation for the patriotic and authoritative release from the Presidency concerning the present situation in Rivers State.

“Before I end, I thank you for the very gracious message of congratulation which you sent to me on the occasion of my 97th birthday, and in fact, it was largely publicised both nationally and internationally. Let me assure you of my continued prayers as you steer the ship of our nation.”

According to Clark, “Nyesom Wike and the 27 former members of the Assembly and the so called Chairman of the APC caretaker committee in Rivers State, Mr. Tony Okocha, have been issuing inflammatory and provocative statement harassing the Governor to the extent that he recently threatened to impeach Siminalayi Fubara, the Governor of Rivers State.

“Another divisive and provocative statement made by Nyesom Wike was on Sunday 7th January, 2024, during his confession having hand in the impeachment of the governor, because of the governor’s hand to impeach the former Speaker and some members of the Rivers State House Assembly.

“He continued his public outburst at a so called grand New Year luncheon at the banquet hall of his private residence in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Speaking on the Rivers crisis he said;

“Ask people why this matter came to this level. When people went and plotted the removal of the Speaker you think we would fold our hands to remove the Speaker an Obio/Akpor son?”

“But unfortunately, he miscalculated, when he directed the Speaker, his kinsman, Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule and the 26 members to defect from PDP, the political party that sponsored them to the APC that does not have a single member in the Rivers State House of Assembly, gleefully singing APC song and waving APC flag. They did not realize that by their action, they automatically lost their seats in accordance with the 1999 Constitution as amended and the series of Supreme Court judgement on the same matter. The remaining four members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who did not defect also went to court. Since the former Speaker, Martins Amaewhule was also included in the defection who later became the Speaker went to court where the court confirmed his defection that those who defected including the Speaker have lost their seat in the State House of Assembly, and also approved Martins Amaewhule as the new Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly who thereafter duly informed the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu about their decision. There is strong evidence that APC under the leadership of Tony Okocha held a very successful reception where the defected former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly were received into APC with fan fare.

“Recently, when he was addressing the former lawmaker representing Ogu/Bolo Constituency in the House of Assembly, who defected from PDP to APC, Wike declared that;

“Let me say this clearly; Arnold, don’t be frightened that anybody would remove you as an Assembly member. Nobody will remove you as an Assembly member.

“Most of you don’t understand. This (politics) is our work. What l am doing is to make them fear; to make them angry. I have no other job than to make them angry every day, to make them make mistakes every day. And they will be in trouble every day. So, don’t worry about yourselves”.

“Mr. President, you can see clearly the wicked and mischievous confession of your Minister Nyesom Wike sabotaging the democratically elected Governor of Rivers State and his legitimate administration in order to bring down the government because he want to be leader and continue maintaining his structure in Rivers State.

“Nyesom Wike has definitely danced naked in the market with one leg in PDP and the second leg in APC, using the two legs to create crisis and insecurity in his own State, Rivers State and it may be too late for Mr. President to discover him.

“The PDP from which the so called 27 defected members of Rivers State House of Assembly was in the same position like Labour Party in Ondo State. No split, no faction. In fact, Nyesom Wike and Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State attended the full caucus meeting of the PDP and the NEC meeting of PDP held at the PDP headquarter on Thursday 18th April, 2024, and both the acting National Chairman, Umar Damagum, and the National Secretary, Samuel Anyanwu, from Imo State, who the so called 27 members cited as a division in PDP because the Secretary was in court against PDP at the time. So, the so called 27 members terribly mis-calculated and they automatically lost their seat and there is no provision in the constitution for them to return back. Therefore the new strategy mischievously been adopted by Nyesom Wike and his co-travellers is to arrange with the PDP acting National Chairman and its legal advisers to obtain an injunction in favour of the 27 former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly that they were still members of PDP because they did not followed due process when they defected from PDP to APC on Monday 11th December, 2023.

“Mr. President, even though you trusted Nyesom Wike to the extent of appointing him as Minister of FCT, you did not really know who Nyesom Wike is.

“At this juncture, with kind permission of Richard Akinlola, a well known columnist in one of his column narrated who Nyesom Wike is to the average Nigerians even though you must have heard the same from your capable and intelligent media officials;

“Wike is only loyal to himself and nobody else, irrespective of his feigned allegiance. He may kowtow and genuflect before a political leader, as he is currently doing in Abuja, but once he can no longer use you, he goes into a fit of incoherent vituperative verbal assault, denigrating his benefactors.”

is an Associate at Naija News. He is a news media enthusiast, he holds a degree in psychology and loves exploring and sharing about the enormous power that lies in the human mind. Email: [email protected], Instagram: adeniyidman