Fact Check

Jonathan Intervenes in Rivers Crisis: Urges Fubara, Wike to end feud for state’s stability

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In a significant move to address the ongoing political turmoil in Rivers State, former President Goodluck Jonathan has called for a truce between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony for the Trans-Kalabari Road in the Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Jonathan expressed deep concern over the escalating tensions and urged both leaders to work together for the stability and progress of the state.

Rivers State has been mired in political strife since late last year, following a bitter fallout between Wike, who now serves as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and Governor Fubara. Despite intervention efforts by President Bola Tinubu, the conflict has continued to simmer, recently intensifying with new developments that threaten to destabilize the state further.

In his address, Jonathan highlighted the critical importance of unity and cooperation in the oil-rich state, stressing that its stability is vital for the nation’s overall development. “The ongoing political tension in Rivers State is worrisome,” Jonathan stated. “It is imperative for the progress of our nation that leaders like Governor Fubara and Minister Wike put aside their differences and collaborate for the greater good.”

The plea from the former president comes at a time when the state’s political landscape is increasingly fractious. Commissioners loyal to Wike have resigned en masse for the second time, and lawmakers aligned with the FCT minister have ramped up their confrontations with Governor Fubara. These developments have only added fuel to the already blazing political fire, prompting Jonathan’s urgent call for peace and cooperation.

Jonathan’s appeal is seen as a crucial step in defusing the crisis that has plagued Rivers State, and his intervention is hoped to pave the way for a more stable and prosperous future for the state and the nation. The call for a truce underscores the need for political maturity and the prioritization of the people’s welfare over personal and political rivalries.

Jonthan said, “Outgoing governors and incoming governors must know that they work together for the collective interest of the citizens of the state and that is critical. In the case of Rivers, Honourable Minister Nyesom Wike and Governor Sim Fubara must work together to develop the land and people of Rivers State. The tension will not help us.

“So, I urge political actors, you must work together if you love the Rivers people. I join the leaders of Rivers State and well-meaning Nigerians that have been calling for truce and ceasefire to also reemphasise that there is a need for a ceasefire. Let us do things that would rather project the state.

“We are calling on them [Wike and Fubara] to embrace themselves. One hand does not clap. It takes two hands to clap. So, we want them to work together for the collective interest. Rivers State is very critical in this country. Rivers State is the heart of the Niger Delta. If River State is destabilised, the whole Niger Delta will be destabilized. And it will not end within the Niger Delta alone because I am from this part of the country and I know how the system works and we don’t want any crisis in Rivers State,” he said.

Expressing worry over the never-ending battles between governors and their predecessors, Jonathan said such do not augur well for Nigeria.

“Transition in Nigeria is becoming a problem. At the centre, presidents have taken over from presidents. They are always issues but at least it is better managed. But at the state level, it is becoming noisy in so many states and I feel that that is not the best,” he said.