From Tony John, Port Harcourt

Governor Siminalayi Fubara has explained that, in seeking peaceful resolution to the political crisis in the state, he had attended several reconciliation meetings, whose resolutions the other party had rebuffed.

The governor maintained that he had acted like the big brother in the crisis, not interested in destroying the ‘house’ so that meaningful development can continue to be engendered in the State while securing a tenable political relationship.

He spoke during a visit by the Bayelsa State delegation of political and traditional leaders, led by former governor, Senator Seriake Dickson, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.

 “But I know that I have always taken the path of peace. I have shown respect. I’ve subjected myself to every meeting of reconciliation for peace. And what happens, each time we come out from such meetings, we are faced with one thunder or lightning.”

The governor pointed out that when he assumed office, it was with the resolve to build on the existing foundation of development of past leaders, especially the immediate past governor.

He emphasised that it would have been out of the ordinary to engage in any political fight when there was so much work to be done for the State and its people as their governor.

He said he strongly felt that it was proper to set some records straight about what had become of a minor problem that was not uncommon in every human relationship.

“But, it is a bad thing when the problem that ought not to be anything becomes something, and in fact, gets out of the bedroom to the sitting room and to the compound. That is the case of Rivers State today.

“I am also happy that you even mentioned the issues, even when I have all the instruments of state powers. I have shown restraint and I believe that whoever is alive and has been following activities of our dear state knows that I have acted as a big brother in the course of this crisis.

“I have not acted like a young man that may want the house to be destroyed but I have behaved like a mature young man that I am. This is because I know that no meaningful development will be achieved in an atmosphere of crisis.

“And because our intention for Rivers State is to build on the foundation that had been laid by our past leaders, it will be wrong for me to take the path of promoting the crisis. That is why we are still recording the development that you are hearing around Rivers State.”

He insisted that there was nothing wrong in one helping another person but that did not mean the helper should take the place of God.

“I want to say clearly that we appreciate the role our leaders, most especially the immediate past governor, played. But that is not enough for me to worship a human being. I can’t do that.”

Governor Fubara took a swipe at the Martin Amaewhule-led group of lawmakers, and declared that they did not exist anymore as lawmakers in the eyes of the law.

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“Let me say it here, those groups of men who claim that they are assembly members are not existing. I want it to be on record.

“I accepted that peace accord to give them a floating (soft-landing). That’s the truth. There is nothing in that peace accord that is a constitutional issue. It is a political solution to a problem. I accepted it because these are people that were visiting me and we were together in my house.

“These are people that I have helped in many ways when I wasn’t even a governor. Yes, we might have our disagreements but I believe that one day, we could also come together. That was the reason I did it.

“But, I think it has gotten to a time when I need to make a statement on this thing, so that they understand that they are not existing. Their existence and whatever they have been doing is because I allowed them to do so. If I don’t recognise them, they are nowhere, that is the truth.

 “So, I want you to see the sacrifice I have made to allow peace to be in our State. I can say here, with all amount of boldness, I  have never called any policeman anywhere to go and harass anybody.

“I have never gone anywhere to ask anybody to do anything against anybody. But what happens to the people that are supporting me? They are being harassed, they are being arrested and detained. There is no week that somebody doesn’t come here with one letter of invitation for trump-up charges and all those things.

“I am saying all these because of what my senior said here: restraint. I don’t think the other party has shown any restraint. I am the one that has shown restraint in the face of this crisis.

“I am the one that is badly hit, even when I have all the government instruments to shake up the table. But, why will I do it? I believe that peace is the best relationship to cultivate.”

thanked the delegation for coming to solidarize with him and his Government, and noted that

there is no complete Rivers State without Bayelsa State and vice versa, which demands that they continue to work together for development.

 “We were separated because of political purposes to expand development but we need to be united so that the economies of these two states will grow. There is no need for us to have any argument over assets, there is no need for us to have disagreement over the issue of who owns this or who doesn’t own that.  One way or the other, we are even inter-related. That is the truth. So, there is no need for a fight.”

Senator Dickson said their visit was one of solidarity with Governor Fubara and Rivers people who have shown maturity in the face of the political crisis for stability and development to thrive.

“We have also come with a message Your Excellency, of peace and reconciliation, forgiveness, unity, mutual respect, political maturity and tolerance by all.”

He added that if there is peace and development in Rivers State, the people of Bayelsa State would benefit, and if there is a crisis, his people would suffer as well, and called on all sides to give peace a chance.