The political crisis in Rivers State has intensified, with 27 out of the 32 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly defecting to the All Progressive Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The defecting lawmakers are known to be loyal to the former governor of Rivers State and current Minister of FCT, Nyesome Wike.
The crisis first erupted in late October when lawmakers loyal to Wike tried to impeach the incumbent governor of Rivers, Sim Fubara, a former protégé of the minister. To prevent the impeachment from happening, “political thugs” allegedly loyal to the governor set the assembly building ablaze on the night of 30 October, and the building sustained damage before the fire was put out. Subsequently, federal security personnel deployed 50 personnel, 17 security trucks, and four armoured personnel carriers to guard the building.
The Rivers State governor and his predecessor have pointed accusing fingers at one other. Governor Fubara’s side claims Wike is trying to control the governor’s office from Abuja, and Wike claims the governor is trying to dismantle his political structure.
Their fallout has stoked ethnic tensions between the Ijaw and Ikwerre people, with Fubara’s ethnicity as an Ijaw man repeatedly invoked by his supporters. As both men seem to have drawn the proverbial line in the sand, despite the previous intervention of President Tinubu, the security prospects for the state look worse and worse by the day.
The PDP and the Labour Party are calling for all 27 assembly seats to be declared vacant since they were won on the PDP ticket. However, the APC has welcomed the defection and pointed to the crisis in the PDP as justification.
This comes at a time when the Nigerian people are being squeezed from all sides by insecurity, a rapidly rising inflation rate, hiked electricity tariffs, tuition fee increases and soaring unemployment. While the ruling class bicker and squabble over who gets to control the political infrastructure of the state, local governments remain without councillors and most legislative business has slowed to a stop.
In the coming days, it is likely, that the now APC state legislators who constitute an overwhelming majority of the Rivers State House of Assembly will move to impeach Governor Fubara again, further deepening the crisis.
As the power play between these factions of the ruling class unfolds, working-class people must not lose sight of the fact that neither of them represents our interests. They are all complicit in making worsening of our lives. And their intra-class battle is over who gets access to looting from the N70bn monthly federal allocation to Rivers State.
Our struggle is against them all, as a class, and to build a better society where we, the working-class people who produce the wealth, can use it to provide decent and happy lives by ourselves, for ourselves.
by Kayode Somtochukwu ANI