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I’ll exit office rather than rule on my knees — Fubara

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has said he will rather pack his belongings and exit office than pledge loyalty that will frustrate the state.

Governor Fubara stated this on Wednesday, when he received the leadership structure, critical stakeholders, opinion leaders, women, and youths of Etche and Omuma Local Government Areas (LGA) led by Ogbakor Etche, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Etche Ethnic Nationality Worldwide, at Government House in Port Harcourt on a courtesy visit.

Fubara said, “If it is only being on our knees to rule that is the way that they will see us as being loyal, then I will pack my few things that I have here, and go and relax in my house comfortably because it will be a disaster, not just to me but to everyone in the State and even my own generation.”

Fubara also announced that his administration has started the process of preparing the 2025 budget, just as he insisted that the legislative seats of Martin Amaewhule and his co-travelers that were declared vacant on December 13, 2023, will remain so.

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The governor stated that they are truly gone and will eventually return home because they desired it to be so when they defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform on which they won their election, to the All Progressives Congress (APC) voluntarily.

The governor, who dismissed their recent ranting as noise-making from delusional folks, urged the 25 former lawmakers to wake up from their slumber to see the ship of governance in the state sailing on smoothly.

He said, “Let me assure you that agriculture is an area that we have promised the very special and peace-loving people of Rivers State that our 2025 budget, which we have already started preparing, will address. Don’t bother about those people that are delusional. They think we are still sleeping. Let me tell you people so that they can hear anywhere they are.

“I wanted to help them, sincerely because I know them. And I have said it before, these are people that I have helped. I paid their children’s school fees. I paid their house rents. So, I wanted to help them.

“We all knew what happened when they crossed (defected), and how did they cross? Because of our God, for them to make that mistake, they crossed! They are gone, and they are gone. Now, let me tell you: when I wanted to help them, I accepted to help them because we are all one. We disagree to agree as it is said.

“But, they thought they are smart. What is holding them is the declaration of their seats vacant that was done on December 13, 2023. That is what is holding them. We are not doing any budget to nullify that decision. It is what will send them to their villages.

“For me, as I am talking to you, I have started preparing my budget for 2025, which I am going to present very soon. And, in that budget, my key areas will be education, healthcare, and agriculture.”

Governor Fubara explained that the three priority areas that the 2025 budget will focus on will ensure that even if more roads will be constructed, emphasis will be placed on providing quality healthcare services to keep the people healthy.

“Our children need to go to quality schools. Even if they can’t go to private schools, let them go to the public ones that have standards. We need to go to good health facilities owned by government and get standard healthcare services.

“Even if we cannot afford those private hospitals, when you go to the public ones, you can get the same services with qualified professionals. That is our thinking.

“And when we get to the issue of agriculture, it will address the issue of unemployment. When we start engaging our youths, they wouldn’t have time to be involved in crime. So, our thinking is to secure and protect our State,” he added.

Governor Fubara reiterated that his administration is not fighting anybody, and will continue to show appreciation to those who have contributed to the good fortunes that he has received in life.

The governor, however, clarified that being loyal does not mean losing one’s liberty, sense of discretion, and what is right, which is why he will not be a governor forced on his knees to steer the affairs of the state.

He added, “I want to assure you one thing: we are not fighting anybody. We appreciate what God has used people to also do in our lives. But, we are not going to rule (govern) this State on our bent knees. We will rule standing this way I am standing.

“So, I will continue to stand tall and stand on the side of truth. So, let me thank the President General (of Ogbakor Etche) for bringing your people, the great people of Etche and Omuma together to come and pay us a solidarity visit.

“We want to assure you that we recognize all ethnic groups, and we are not here because of any particular group. We are here and standing for Rivers State. Our greatest support has come, not from my own people (Opobo), but from all of you.”

Governor Fubara urged the people of Etche Nation to sustain their support for his administration because its vision is clear and encompassing to advance the well-being of all Rivers people.

The governor said, as stated in the national anthem, he is determined to establish a climate (state) where every man should be free of oppression, and freely pursue their aspirations.

He said: “We are asking for only one thing from you: Support us because our interest is very clear and straight. We mean well for our people. We want everyone to be free. We want to lead with the fear of God. We want you to express yourselves without fear.

“So, I want to assure you that we are on the right track. With your support, we are going to get there. Don’t allow anybody to deceive you. They can go to the media and dance; when they go behind, they cry. It is the truth. We don’t know how to dance but we say it the way it is, and stand tall anywhere we go.”

Governor Fubara, in responding to the requests of the people, said his administration is working with the Nigeria Police in finding lasting solutions to the hydra-headed issue of herdsmen attacks on farmlands and farmers in the area while urging them to continue to provide vital information of strange people and their operations to the relevant authorities.

The governor also promised to address the issue of illegal dredging activities in the area and undertake reconstruction work on priority areas, including roads, schools, and health facilities, just as he announced the donation of N50 million to Ogbakor Etche Worldwide for the smooth running of the organisation.

In his speech, Oyeisi Etche, His Eminence, Eze Emmanuel Opurum, said Etche and Omuma people will continue to give full support to Governor Fubara and ensure that his administration succeeds.

Eze Opurum, who also said that the political crisis in Rivers State is an ill wind that will do no good to anybody, called on governors of the 36 states of the federation to quickly summon a meeting to collectively find a lasting solution to the crisis, which should be communicated to President Bola Tinubu and eventually enforced.

On his part, the President General of Ogbakor Etche Worldwide, Sir Charles Nwonuala, said the Etche people, who share in the travails, joy, and the many victories of Governor Fubara, came to pledge their unalloyed support, confidence, and faith in him and his administration.

Sir Nwonuala also presented a list of roads, schools, and other development needs plaguing them as a people, while insisting that they endorse and support the good governance provided by the governor in the state.

In his speech, Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr. George Nwaeke, said the Oyeisi Etche, the entire leadership structure plus 70 academic professors from Etche Nation, have come together with women and youths to express solidarity to Governor Fubara to enable his administration to succeed.

Dr. Nwaeke said that they are particularly happy to identify with the administration because they rank among the first who felt liberated when the administration of Governor Fubara started giving his all-inclusive leadership approach and love for peace.

Author

  • Ann Godwin

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