The National Coordinator of South-South Leadership Forum, Anabs Sara-Igbe, has revealed that the Governor of Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara contemplated resigning before the political turmoil in the state intensified.
Sara-Igbe noted that it was the persuasion of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders that convinced Fubara to stay on.
He claimed that the governor felt constrained in his role, facing challenges with financial control and independence, leading to thoughts of stepping down.
Fubara’s conflict with Nyesom Wike, his political godfather and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory has contributed to the state’s political instability.
Sara-Igbe, a former Security Adviser to ex-governor, Peter Odili, in an interview with Channels TV, claimed that more commissioners would leave Fubara’s cabinet.
He stated, “What is the problem? Wike has come to tell the world that he was fighting Sim because Sim wanted to take his structure. What is the structure six months after elections; we are not close to elections, so what has structure got to do?
“Let me tell you about the structure; before Wike left the government, the state was making over N10bn internally generated revenue (monthly). When he left, the IGR came down to N6bn. And the governor, a former Accountant General of the state, asked questions and in the process he engaged somebody to look at the books, and the commissioner of finance reported to Wike and the former governor got angry. That is the structure.
“Secondly, the money coming from the federation account, Wike tied the money to one project or the other. So, when the money comes, it goes to the banks and they collect theirs from it and pay the contractors. Of course, we didn’t even know the cost of the contracts, so when this governor felt, ‘How will I run a government when I don’t have the resources’, the minister became hostile to the governor and the governor said ‘Okay, let me resign if that is the case’. The PDP elders prevailed on him not to resign, thinking it would be messy.
“As soon as that ended, I came on air and advised Nyesom Wike to leave this man alone to govern, allow him, even if he’s your son’. I even went as far as giving him references like the Sarakis. Dr Olusola Saraki brought the son, Bukola, to that seat but when their ideologies did not agree, the son told him to go and rest.
“You cannot make somebody a governor; a very important seat in Nigeria – that was the seat Odili sat and he almost became the president; that was the seat (former governor Rotimi) Amaechi sat and he connived with others to remove a sitting president; that is the seat Wike himself sat and became a superman – and you are asking somebody who is on that seat to be subservient. But the governor is still loyal.”
He said the former governor knew about the defection of the 27 PDP Assembly lawmakers to the APC, “He (Wike) is a lawyer, he ought to know that such a move would cost the Assembly members their seats”.
When reminded that the lawmakers had said openly that their defection was not engineered by the minister, Sara-Igbe noted, “I am a father to some of them. I know their personal grievances, but they cannot do what they did without the support of their godfather. They believe Wike and Sim were having problems and because of that, they leveraged that to get at him (Sim).
“Even before the impeachment saga, some were threatening the governor that if he did rubbish they would get him removed from office. But the governor is a calm person, and I believe strongly that this is one man who loves Wike so much and has sacrificed so much for him before he became governor and even after.
“Today, the governor is not disposed to making trouble with the minister. He still sees it as a father-and-son relationship, but the minister, because of greed, is someone who wants to get everything, trying to take over the two parties, APC and PDP. When somebody is in control and wants power at all cost, it’s not the best, and that is what is leading to some of his problems.”