Tinubu Threatened Fubara To Sign Resolution, Ex-commissioner

A member of the Rivers Elders’ Forum and former Commissioner for Works, Chief David Briggs, has alleged that President Bola Tinubu imposed the resolution concerning the crisis in the state on Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

Briggs, who said he attended the resolution meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, insisted that Fubara signed the resolution under duress, following alleged threats issued by the President.

The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, had on Wednesday dismissed any insinuation that Fubara signed the document under duress, adding that the signature was the governor’s authentic signature.

However, Briggs, on Thursday, maintained that Fubara signed the resolution under duress.

Briggs alleged that the President only handed over “a script referred to as resolution” to Fubara to sign without his input.

“I was there, so what I say is primary, not secondary. We were invited to a meeting, but that was not a meeting. What happened was that Mr President walked in with a written resolution, addressed us and declared that what he had in his hand was a presidential proclamation, therefore, he could whip; and emphasised the fact that he is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and anybody who tends to say no to what he was saying, it had consequences.

“That, in simple layman’s words, is a threat. He (Tinubu) wrote the resolution but refused to read it. He handed the resolution to Dr Peter Odili to read.

“Now let’s get it very clear. If you were in the position of the governor what would you do? Get up and go? Say no to Mr President with that kind of subtle but energetic threat?” he asked.

According to Briggss, most Rivers people present at the meeting, including former Attorney-General of the state, Adokiye Amiesimaka, were shocked by “the President’s undemocratic attitude” and decided to ask questions.

“One of us, specifically Amiesimaka, asked him, ‘Fubara should do this, he should do that. You (referring to the President) have not said what those 25 or 27 Assembly members who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress without consulting their constituency and constituents should do.

“The President’s reaction was very clear and simple: ‘I’m the leader of the APC in Nigeria. And you are telling me when babies are born into my family I should ask them to go?” Briggs added.

According to him, there may be plans to make Fubara defect to the APC, but he commended the governor “for displaying maturity during the meeting.”

Attempts to get the Presidency’s reaction were unsuccessful, as the President’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Mr Bayo Onanuga, could not be reached for comments at press time.

On Thursday, a group of concerned citizens of Rivers State called on Fubara and the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, to abide by the resolutions reached after the meeting with Tinubu.

The group, codenamed ‘CC 23’, said after carefully appraising the situation, especially after Tinubu’s peace meeting, the tension in the state had reduced, saying it was a win-win for Fubara and Wike.

This was contained in a statement issued in Port Harcourt on Thursday and signed by 16 persons, including the National Publicity Secretary of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Dr Ken Robinson.

They said, “The citizens, comprising professionals, activists, community leaders, businessmen, and women, hereby, wholeheartedly, thank President Bola Tinubu, for his fatherly and timely intervention in the political crisis of Rivers State, which has mollified the tension in the state and provided a leeway for the peaceful and amicable resolution of the dispute between the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike, and Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

“We have carefully appraised the resolutions reached at the mediatory meeting of President Bola Tinubu with the Governor of Rivers State, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, and the Minister of the FCT and immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike, and others. The outcome is a win-win situation; no victor, no vanquished!

“We salute the nationalistic bearing of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, his political sagacity, wisdom, and deep-rooted love for the nation, and our democracy. Certainly, Daniel came to judgment!

“We equally commend the Honorable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike, and Governor Siminalayi Fubara for submitting themselves to Mr. President’s mediation.

“We urge both parties to conscientiously uphold and abide by the terms of the peace deal. We urge them to leverage Mr. President’s intervention, put aside their differences, and bury the hatchet, to advance the peace, security, progress, and development of our dear Rivers State,”

Meanwhile, Fubara, on Thursday, said his administration had achieved the construction of the Andoni section of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity road, a project he claimed his predecessors could not achieve in the last 20 years.

Fubara spoke to newsmen in Ngo Town, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area of the state, shortly after inspecting the entire stretch of the road.

He maintained that despite the current challenges confronting his administration, he would not be distracted from his oath of office to defend Rivers people and protect their interests.

He recalled that during the campaigns leading to his election, the Andoni section of the road was in a horrible condition.

He said, “I have to say that the contractor has done a very good job. However, we did observe that about 1km of road that will lead to the council secretariat was somehow not captured in the scope and I think it will be proper that we do that alongside.

“So, we will continue to do our best not minding the challenges we are facing. The most important thing is that we have taken our oath to defend our people and protect their interests, and we are not going back on that.

“What I keep saying to everyone is: what are we bequeathing to our people? Their interest is the most important thing and governance is about the protection of lives and property. These include providing quality services and one of those things is like this road. Posterity has just blessed me with this project. It is something that they couldn’t achieve for over 20 years, but within the space of six months, I have been able to sort it out. It is a credit and a big one to our administration.”