Rivers Crisis: Wike, Fubara must tread with caution- Abe

….insists politicians have learnt nothing from past experiences

The immediate past governorship candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, has called on the political gladiators in the state to tread with caution in the interest of the people.

Speaking on ARISE NEWS Channel, Abe said in any society there are kingmakers but there are no king removers, warning that those who want to remove the king may be charge for treason.

He stated that the present crisis in Rivers State would not help the people of the state, urging Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike and Governor Siminalaye Fubara to “cool down and settle their differences.’’

According to the former senator, what should be paramount to the political gladiators is the welfare of the people of the state, and not fighting to maintain their political base.

He said: “My advice to all the parties is to tread with caution. I am very happy with the reconciliatory stand of the governor saying that it is a father and son quarrel, and I think it is left for the father to now take the cue from the offer of peace and make the same kind of comment that will enable them to have a common meeting point so that there will be peace in the state and Rivers people can be able to move forward.

“My advice to all the gladiators is that you can have kingmakers in any society, but you cannot have king removers because if you tried to remove the king its view as treason. So let the gladiators shield our swords, talk to one another.

“What I think is important today to the people of Rivers State is, how much are the people making, how much income are they able to generate for themselves and their family, what schools are their children going to, how many of them have access to good healthcare. How many of them have access to a better quality of life, and how many of them are upgrading because it not only the politicians that should upgrade. Those that the thing we should be focusing on.”

Abe stressed that the situation in Rivers State is not substantially different from what is going on in other states, where outgoing governors handpicked their successors.

“There is nothing going on in Rivers State that is substantially different from what is going on in other states, but it is better managed in other states. In most cases the outgoing governors handpicked their successors. But, in other states, the outgoing governors takes a step back, even if you will intervene or influence affairs, you don’t do it in such a way that everybody keeps coming to you for everything, making the man who is on ground irrelevant.

“There is always situation when you have an old king and a new king because people will always go to the old king, but it is the responsibility of the old king to let people know that he is no longer in charge, so that you don’t give room for frictions between you and your successor.

“As long as we have the kind of system where whoever is the leader of the party has the power to handpick every candidate and handpick everything and where public funds and political funds inferably merged and if you don’t have access to public funds, you are not competitive in the political space. Those with access to public funds will always have an advantage. So, the problem is everywhere but the difference between Rivers State and other states is that our own problem is not been properly managed.

“I want to call on the actors to manage the problem better so that it is not always Rivers State that is in the news let another State come up with their own problem and let Nigerians discuss them while we focus on development of the state.”

The former lawmaker who said he was neither in the camp of Wike or Governor Fubara, added that the focus at this point should not be on the politics and the politicians but the interest of Rivers State.

“Let me make it abundantly clear that I am not in any camp. The minister is my friend although; we are a bit estranged at the moment. The governor is not my friend, and I really don’t l know gin that well. But my position as part of Rivers state is that our interest at this point should not be on the politics and the politicians, we should also look at the interest of Rivers State.

“I am here today not taking side but to call back the minds of Rivers people to the prices the state has had to pay overtime as a result of all these political crises. We seem to have learnt nothing from the situations that we have passed through. What is happening in the state today is no different from what happened the last time between the then minister and the governor and before that, between the governor and the then minister, who is now back as the minister. We have practically the same situation and Rivers State lost out terribly because the centre was now working against the state and the state was working against the centre.

“If we are not careful, the kind of scenario, the same kind of drama, the same kind situation that led of us into those quagmires are what is playing out today. There can only be one governor at a time, and however the governor emerged, I would think that the proper thing for us to do is to have a situation where the state can move forward in peace.

“In Rivers State today, we are not conscious of the figures on what we discussed. What is the rate of employment, how many Rivers people have access to good drinking water, how many of our youths have jobs, how many people have access to electricity supply, how many people are properly educated, how many children do we have in schools and what is the dropout rate, what is the quality of education?

“We need to be talking to all these figures but what happening is that when we have this kind of crisis, everything shifts to politics and at the end of the day, it is the Rivers people that are going to suffer. So, I am not jubilant, I am rather saddened that once more, we are back in the kind of situation that none of us would like to be. I would like to appeal to all the parties to find accommodation. Nobody is too big, and nobody is too small.’’

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