Thu, 09 May 2024 Feature Article

Fubara's Body Language Underscores Governance Lapses

Fubara's Body Language Underscores Governance Lapses

Governor Siminalayi Fubara, currently portraying Holy Nweje, seems to have forgotten that the chairpersons of local government areas in Rivers State have accused him of withholding the statutory allocations meant for the 23 council areas in the state.

The chairpersons, representing the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers State Chapter, made this accusation during a press briefing in Port Harcourt. Allwell Ihunda, the chairperson of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, claimed that the governor has been withholding the local councils’ allocations since April.

Despite having the power to do so, Fubara believes it is wrong to escalate the crisis in Rivers State and is focused on building on the foundation laid by past leaders. He said that has handled the situation with maturity and restraint in order to prioritize meaningful development in the state. But how true is Fubara?

Fubara is clearly showing a lack of appreciation, loyalty, but tendering a duplicitous approach in all aspects of the sought peace. His lack of gratitude towards ex-Governor Nyesom Wike, who is believed to have helped him become governor, is particularly concerning.

Fubara's behavior of pretending to be loyal until he gains power and then turning against his benefactors is a prime example of political treachery. Additionally, his body language suggests he may not be trustworthy.

While peace is valued, Fubara seems to believe that conflict leads to lasting peace. It remains to be seen how long his actions will continue and who will be affected. Despite his disloyalty to Wike, Fubara expects loyalty from others, as seen during a recent visit from former Governor Henry Seriake Dickson and former Governor Alfred Diete Spiff from Bayelsa.

The visitors were in the state for a peace talk, during which the governor criticized Wike without acknowledging his humble beginnings. Despite some people disliking Wike for his strong beliefs, Siminalayi seems to have a habit of forgetting agreements, like when he referred to the Rivers State House of Assembly as "non-existent," even though he had previously submitted commissioner-nominees to the assembly and had them sworn in.

Fubara stated that the group of men claiming to be Assembly members does not actually exist. He clarified that he agreed to a peace accord with them out of a sense of goodwill, not because of any constitutional issues.

Regardless of their past disagreements, Fubara believes they can eventually reconcile. He now feels the need to clarify that their existence and actions are only possible because he has allowed them. If he does not acknowledge them, they hold no significance.

While Siminalayi should be respected as the governor of Rivers State, he has demonstrated similarities to other politicians who wrongly assume authority they do not possess. It is important to recognize that the legislature does not operate under the control of the executive branch.

Believing otherwise is simply self-deception. Politicians often create misapprehensions of grandeur for themselves, as Siminalayi is currently doing. Although, appearing significant to some, those who are perceptive can see through the facade.

The pressing needs of the state, such as improved infrastructure, healthcare, education, and revenue generation, are being overlooked due to a political crisis caused and prolonged by the governor.

Those familiar with him understand that Wike is a man of his word, which is why his legacy includes bridges, housing complexes, hospitals, schools, and better pension distribution, making him popular among the people and enhancing the state's infrastructure. This has made Wike beloved by the population.

When Wike, the FCT Minister is walking with his head tall around Abuja, Fubara prohibited all heads and officials of the 23 local government areas in the state from appearing before the state House of Assembly, cautioning that any chairman who did so risked being fired.

The governor issued the directive in a circular signed by the Director of Information and Communications for Chairman Local Government Service Commission, Ebirieneuket Nteile, dated Tuesday, May 7, 2024.

Notwithstanding this, the governor, through a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Nelson Chukwudi, expressed his desire for people to believe that he had made efforts towards reconciliation but that his opponents had not cooperated in implementing the resolutions.

The governor portrayed himself as a mediator in the crisis, emphasizing his commitment to maintaining harmony and promoting development in the state. It is without a doubt that Siminalayi has a group of retired personalities on the radio in the state, offering advice and support as he deals with the challenges posed by the ex-governor, Wike.

However, they fail to acknowledge that the lack of executive meetings since December 2023, replaced by unnecessary Thanksgiving services and courtesy visits, highlights a lack of direction and discord in governance within Siminilayi's disunited cabinet. The state under Siminalayi is experiencing ineffective governance, causing it to veer off course from the plans outlined during the party's campaign and subsequent victory in the 2023 general election.

A maxim of equity states that those seeking justice must be morally clean, meaning that individuals making claims must be free from any hint of fraud. Analysts have observed that Fubara lacks influence in the assembly and suggested that seasoned politicians know how to navigate such situations, advising reaching out to opponents to ensure smooth governance. However, Fubara refuses to engage in the politics of compromise and would rather sever relationships than work together for the common good.

It is cautioned that ruling out any possibility in politics, as Fubara is doing, can lead to defeat. The unity of Rivers State is crucial, regardless of any rivalries between the Ijaw and Ikwerre political groups. Fubara needs to understand this fact. Many believe that expressing gratitude to those who bring us joy is important for our happiness, as they nurture our inner selves like skilled gardeners. Fubara's indecisive leadership has failed to recognize the significance of ignoring distractions from former enemies who are offering insincere support.

Their true motives are revealed in the ground that is being affected by their actions. The sudden alliance between the APC and PDP in the state calls for concern.

When will Fubara exercise caution in decision-making and avoid being influenced by unreliable information? Regardless of the visit from the Ijaw delegation led by Seriake and Spiff, the governor's conflicting actions have only prolonged the path to peace. He and his supporters should be reminded that those who sow discord will eventually face consequences.

Onwumere is a political analyst based in Rivers State. He can be reached via: 08032552855.