Rivers State, Nigeria, plunged into turmoil as an alleged impeachment plot against Governor Siminalayi Fubara triggered chaotic scenes, with his loyalists staging protests at the State House of Assembly complex. The political unrest followed a suspected arson attack on the assembly, adding a layer of tension to the already volatile situation.
The explosion at the assembly on Sunday, believed to thwart the impeachment proceedings, failed to deter lawmakers, purportedly loyal to the former Rivers State governor and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike. The assembly witnessed an early morning meeting, resulting in the signing of an impeachment notice against Governor Fubara.
Security operatives swiftly deployed to the assembly complex and key locations in Port Harcourt, heightening fears of potential violence. Armed personnel cordoned off the assembly, reflecting the gravity of the political standoff.
The cause of the crisis between Fubara and his political mentor, Wike, remains unclear, but the impeachment plot laid bare the alleged cold war between the two figures. Wike, who had staunchly supported Fubara’s election against some stakeholders’ wishes, has not issued a statement on the unfolding events.
As the political drama unfolded, videos circulated showing clashes between the governor, his supporters, and security forces outside the assembly complex. Fubara, flanked by Department of State Services operatives, faced tear gas, gunshots, and water cannons as he attempted to assess the damage caused by the arson attack.
In a surprising turn of events, Fubara managed to secure the support of some lawmakers after an emergency meeting at the Government House. Pro-Fubara members announced the suspension of eight colleagues and the impeachment of Speaker Martin Amaewhule. Edison Ehie, initially suspended, was elected as the factional speaker.
The crisis escalated with the governor accusing compromised police officers, including the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, of attempting to assassinate him during his visit to the assembly complex.
Addressing the media, the newly elected factional speaker, Edison Ehie, pledged fairness and adherence to the rule of law while announcing the House’s adjournment due to an impending indefinite strike notice.
In response to the turmoil, the Rivers State Police Command assured residents of an investigation into the incident at the House of Assembly. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) called for restraint, emphasizing the need to maintain peace in the state.
Elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark urged President Bola Tinubu to intervene, expressing concern over the potential repercussions of the unfolding crisis. Clark warned against destabilizing Rivers State, emphasizing the importance of upholding constitutional democracy in the nation.
As the political landscape in Rivers State remains turbulent, the nation watches with apprehension, awaiting the resolution of a crisis that threatens to impact not only the state but also the stability of the Niger Delta region and the national economy.