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Tension at LG Secretariats as Wike, Fubara shift battle ground

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The crisis between the camps of Governor Siminalayi Fubara and Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has shifted to the local government area.

Fubara and Wike fell out barely three months after the latter succeeded the former as Rivers governor.

The duo have been involved in heated exchanges but the situation has been calm for a while.

However, the tenure of Local Government chairmen has been a subject of controversy.

While the governor directed the chairmen who have the backing of Wike to vacate office by the expiration of their tenure on June 17, 2024, they have refused on the grounds that the pro-Wike faction of Rivers House of Assembly has extended their tenure.

The Martin Amaewhule-led Assembly had amended the law to enable LG chairmen extend their tenure by six months over the alleged failure of Fubara to conduct local government elections.

The State ALGON Chairman, Allwell Ihunda, who doubles as the Chairman of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, insisted that the law by the House of Assembly empowers them to remain in office.

But speaking at a recent event, Fubara warned the LG chairmen not to do anything that would truncate the peace of the state.

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Meanwhile, Amaewhule, at a news briefing last week, warned the Governor against setting up caretaker committees to fill vacant positions in the 23 LGAs of the state, saying the lawmakers would not accept such a move.

The council chairmen who were elected during the tenure of Wike as Governor have been having a running battle with Governor Fubara as a result of the disagreement between the two political leaders.

On Monday, some youths stormed the secretariat in Degema Local Government Area and prevented movement in and out of the complex.

The youths who were seen singing war songs appeared battle ready as they insisted that they would not allow the LG chairman to remain in office after serving his tenure.

Singing in their local dialects, the youths chorused that the council chairman has failed, saying, “A failure must go’.

A similar scenario played out at Asari-Toru Local Government Area where hundreds of youths stormed the council headquarters and occupied the facility.

Many of the youths were seen in different groups in front of the secretariat and the entire stretch of the road leading to the entrance, even as some could be heard saying, ‘Asawana’ a popular slang among the Ijaws, which signify solidarity.

The youths, who dared the council chairman to come to the secretariat, vowed to remain there until work resumes on Wednesday.

But there was huge security presence at Port Harcourt City Local Government Area and Obio/Akpor LGAs.

Our correspondent sighted over six police patrol vans in front of the secretariats on Monday morning.

The patrol vans were manned by fierce-looking security operatives, although movement was not restricted.

Meanwhile, the outgoing chairman of Eleme LGA, Obarilomate Ollor, has warned those eager to throw him out of office not to come close to the council, saying they would be resisted.

Ollor, while addressing stakeholders at the first Annual General Meeting of the Aleto Clan Association held in Port Harcourt, said he had got wind of plans to invade the council on June 17.

He urged those who do not have legitimate businesses at the council headquarters not to come close, pointing out that the LG council is neither a community town hall nor a students’ union facility.

Ollor stated, “Some people are ganging up, they want to use force to enter into the local government. Let me tell you, the local government is not a community town hall or students union secretariat.

“That is a government facility. So stay away from there except the law permits you to go there. If you go there against the law, what you will see you will not believe it. You will see your forefathers’ earlier than you expect. So don’t go there if you are not meant to go there. You can stay in a hotel and make noise, but don’t go there.”

Spokesperson of the State Police Command, Grace Iringe-Koko, said men of the State police command were on a show of strength Monday morning.

In the meantime, unconfirm reports have it that Fubara has sent a list of 7-member caretaker Committee to Oko Jumbo-led House of Assembly for screening.

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