Rivers elders take Gov Fubara to task for endorsing Aso Rock peace deal

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By Ignatius Chukwu

Despite acceptance of the Rivers Peace Accord prepared in Aso Rock, the Rivers Elders and Leaders Forum (RELF) has taken Gov Sim Fubara to task for accepting the deal. They described the agreement as unworkable and a breach of the constitution.


The elders again rejected the peace agreement and made it clear it will not work.

They have rather described it as a rape of the 1999 constitution and vowed never to accept it as good for Rivers State.

At a press conference conference in Port Harcourt today, December 27, 2023, the Forum described the Christmas Day Broadcast of Gov Siminalayi Fubara as unacceptable and a breach of constitutional democracy.

The Forum in an open letter addressed to the Governor and read by the leader of the group, Rufus Ada George, one time governor of the state, stated that it is not within the powers of Gov Fubara to implement the said presidential declaration.

They described it as an agreement in clear violation of the what it intended to keep. They insisted that the environment in which the peace between Gov Fubara of Rivers State and Nyesom Wike, a former governor of the State, now FCT Minister, showed no sensitivity to the peoples security or political and social interest.

They argued thus: “Peace can only be practised in a germane, truthful, and just society.”

The elders and leaders reiterated its acceptance of the humility shown by the Governor, in his Christmas Day Broadcast, but insisted that the people of Rivers State were yet see any element of peace in the Abuja proclamation for the State.

The Forum quoted Gov Fubara as acknowledging the fact that it elicits a mix reaction from the people of Rivers State and others across the country.

They admonished the Governor to count the cost of the peace he intends to secure in the State, especially between the principal actors of the political drama. The admonition is borne out of the leaders concern for the future of democracy in the Rivers Staten so as to avoid situations or political solutions that would further escalate the existing political tension.

The concerned elders of Rivers State used the medium to call on Gov Fubara not to place too much premium on the assurances of detractors; rather be guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which he swore to uphold.

The Forum expressed conviction that peace can return to Port Harcourt and Rivers State if only the Governor would be circumspect in his actions, measured in his engagement and have a critical mind in his review of events.

Reacting to questions on further line of action, Birabi revealed that the forum was strongly backing some of it’s members who have earlier approached the court to challenge the legality of the Presidential declaration. He explained that matters bothering on a breach of constitutional provisions can best be determined by a court of law and not the President as is the case in the Rivers political Saga.

The Rivers Elders and Leaders said that it’s concern is to save the soul of the State. They also restated the fact that as leaders, the Forum would never take sides in the dispute but rather work to entrench constitutional democracy and the return of lasting to Rivers State.

The Open Letter to Siminalayi Fubara was jointly signed by members of the Rivers Elders and Leaders Forum (RELF), which includes Rufus Ada George, a former Governor of Rivers State, Andrew Uchendu and Bennett Birabi, two former senators, O P Fingesi, a retired Real Admiral, Ankio Briggs a foremost activist, Bristol Alagbariya, a Professor; Anabs Sara-Igbe, a high chief and prominent voice in the Niger Delta, among others.

Reacting, the faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) believed to be backed by Wike said though the governor has endorsed the peace accord, that there were loopholes that those in his camp may explore to shoot it down.

The caretaker committee chairman, Tony Okocha, said the statement by Gov Fubara that he would not implement the agreement to the detriment of the interests of the state could be latched upon by mischief makers to foment trouble. Okocha said he did not believe that Gov Fubara would truly abide by the agreement, but warned of the consequences that may lead to crisis in the state.

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