A member of the Rivers Elders’ Forum and former Rivers State 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 the governor signed the resolution under duress, following alleged threats issued by the President before handing the document to the governor to sign.
The PUNCH reports that Tinubu held a meeting with Fubara, a former governor of the state, Peter Odili, the immediate past governor, Nyesom Wike, and other stakeholders at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Monday to address the crisis rocking the state.
The President directed that all matters instituted in the courts by the governor and his team in respect of the political crisis be withdrawn immediately.
In an interview with newsmen in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Wednesday, Briggs said Fubara was forced to sign the resolution without his input.
He stated, “I was there, so what I say is primary not secondary. We were invited for a meeting, but that was not a meeting. What happened is that Mr President walked in with a written resolution, addressed us and declared that what he had in his hand is a presidential proclamation, therefore he can whip.
“He emphasised the fact that he is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and anybody who tends to say no to what he is saying, it has consequences. That in a simple lay man’s word 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 will you do? Get up and go? Say no to Mr President with that kind of subtle but energetic threat?”
The former commissioner also said most Rivers people present at the meeting including former Attorney-General of the State and Justice Commissioner, 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 that defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress without consulting their constituency and constituents what they 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, however, said there may be plans to ensure that Fubara defects to the APC, even as he commended the governor for displaying maturity during the meeting
He added, “I’m thinking that the governor should have by now joined the APC; then there will be no impeachment. “What Tinubu did and I can say it was establish his own party interest while arbitrating of peace in Rivers State.”
Continuing, he said, “And of course you can see the situation, the President’s reaction was very clear and simple, but very dangerous. Realising that back home you are fighting an internal aggression and division, if you are in his (Fubara’s) position, will you want to attract another external fight? The answer is no.
“So, you see that our governor is very intelligent, very humble but very intelligent. Not just intelligent but committed to the value of governance.
“He (Tinubu) gave that order and asked them to sign. And the governor simply made the statement. The statement itself is full of wisdom. That of the President is also full of wisdom because he was operating within the space provided for him by his advisers.”