Fubara, Wike/25 Lawmakers, others: PDP threatens Tinubu’s peace accord, insists on fresh polls


With just 24 hours after the intervention of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in the resolution of the political crisis in Rivers state, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) brought the truce under threat, insisting there is “no remedy for the 25 former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly” elected on its platform but defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The party said, by virtue of Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the lawmakers had vacated and lost their seats by reason of defection.

Also, it said, at the appropriate time, FCT Minister Nyesom Wike, a major actor in the Rivers state political crisis, will be sanctioned in line with the party’s constitution.   

PDP National Working Committee (NWC) said this Tuesday at the end of its emergency meeting on the political developments in the state.

At the end of the truce called by President Tinubu, it was resolved among others that Martin Amaewhule, leader of the 27 defector-lawmakers, remained speaker of the state assembly and that Governor Siminilayi Fubara should release the funds due to the legislature to enhance their duties.   

 PDP reacts  

But in a major reaction, Tuesday, PDP Acting National Chairman Ambassador Umar Iliya Damagum told journalists that,   having now vacated and lost their seats, the only option available for the former lawmakers, if they so desire to return to the House of Assembly, is to seek fresh nomination and re-election on the platform of any political party of their choice in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2022.

He said: “The 25 former Rivers lawmakers freely and without any cause vacated their seats, being fully aware of the consequences of defection from the Party upon which they were elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly without the conditions stipulated by the 1999 Constitution.

 “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no division in the PDP at the national or any other level for that matter to justify the defection of the 25 former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the Party. They therefore vacated their seats for reasons best known to them and cannot return to the House of Assembly without passing through a fresh electoral process in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2022.

“Moreover, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly Rt. Hon (Barr) Ehie O. Edison DSSRS officially declared the seat of the defected now former members vacant in line with Section 109 (1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The Rivers State House of Assembly, having become Functus Officio on the matter cannot re-admit the former lawmakers unless through the channel of a fresh election.

“Our Party therefore counsels the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly not to be deceived by anybody giving them the false hope and impracticable assurances in Abuja that they can return to the Rivers State House of Assembly without a fresh election or that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can be stopped from conducting fresh election into the 25 Rivers State Constituencies where vacancies have occurred by reason of their defection.

“For emphasis Section 84 (15) of the Electoral Act, 2022 is clear in providing that no Courts have powers to stop INEC from conducting elections wherever and whenever a vacancy occurs in any electoral constituency. For clarity, Section 84 (15) of the Electoral Act, 2022 provides that: 

“Nothing in this section shall empower the Courts to stop the holding of primaries or general election under this Act pending the determination of the suit.”

They demanded that INEC, should, in line with Section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 84 (15) of the Electoral Act, 2022, fix a date for the conduct of fresh election into the 25 State Constituencies in Rivers state where vacancies have occurred by reason of the defection of the now former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, pending the determination of any suit in any court.

They also charged all party members to remain united and resolute in the defence of constitutional democracy and rule of law in Rivers state.

 On Wike

On the FCT Minister Wike and other members who allegedly worked against the party, Damagum said they will be dealt with in the fullness of time.

He said: “One thing I am conscious about is that there was never a time he said he is not a member of this party.

 “The same members of this party that believe he has done something wrong have also done something wrong to the party. 

 “And as for our stand about Wike, I have always said this thing that as long as you are a member of the PDP, there is a time for everything.

“My duty is to stabilize this party and not to cause crisis. And I will continue to do that within the confine of reason.

“When things go out of hand, we will act. But meanwhile, we still see it within the ambit of the law. Mind you have other litigations going on at this party we won’t want to plunge our party into another crisis.

 “And let me tell you something, it is not only Wike, there are other people who worked against this party when we get to that level we will sanction everybody.” 

The party leader also revealed that the party recently approved and were about to inaugurate the 2023 review committee.

Among other functions, he said the committees would review what happened in 2023 and come out with a report not only about one person, but every person who has one way or another engaged in anti-party.

“Then after that, we will see what kind of measure to take,” he added.

I’m for peace

But despite his party’s position, Governor Fubara said no price was too much for peace to reign in the state.

He spoke Tuesday at the 3rd Convocation and 6th Founders Day ceremonies of the PAMO University of Medical Sciences in Iriebe Town, Obio-Akpor local government area of the state.

“There is no price that will be too big to pay to ensure that peace prevails,” Fubara said.

On education, the governor said: “While some progress has been made, it is obvious that a lot still needs to be done to achieve our collective aspirations for universal access to quality education and healthcare for our people. I need not say that no society can progress without educated and healthy people.”

He acknowledged the giant strides achieved within six years of PAMO University founded by former Rivers state governor, Dr. Peter Odili, to become Nigeria’s most outstanding private medical institution.

Fubara said his administration also increased the number of the state’s yearly scholarships in the university from 100 to 150 students. 

APC mum

When asked to comment on the PDP stance, a source within the APC national secretariat said “our leader has spoken, and we do not have anything to add. Until otherwise directed, President Tinubu’s position remains our stand.”

Clark rejects truce

Also speaking on the Tinubu-led truce, the Ijaw leader, Edwin Clark, described the eight-point resolution as undemocratic, dictatorial, and one-sided.

He said it was aimed at handing over the political leadership of Rivers state to Wike.

Clark said: “I, Senator Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, as leader of the Ijaw nation, and as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), decided to hold this emergency press conference with the full authority of my people. We are prepared to face any consequences that may result in the political crisis in Rivers State.

“We will resist any attempt subtle, subterranean, covert, overt, to make an elected Ijaw son, Siminialayi Fubara, the Governor of Rivers State, a servant, a stooge to Nyesome Wike, who had boasted that any attempt by the Governor to touch his so-called ‘Wike’s structure’, with the connivance and support of President Bola Tinubu, will be resisted by us.

“Like I said, we will go to court to resist this oppressive action using all available constitutional and legal means. It is on this note I wish to appeal to the youths who are aggrieved, to remain calm, as we will use legal means to dethrone this hydra-headed monster, called oppression.”

About Kehinde Osasona, Bode Olagoke Abuja

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