Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has directed members of the House of Assembly, led by Martin Amaewhule to commence impeachment process against Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

Caretaker Committee Chairman of the party, Tony Okocha, gave the directive during a media conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday, following the governor’s recent declaration that the Assembly members do not exist anymore in the eyes of the law.

The governor and 27 members of the Assembly loyal to former governor, Nyesom Wike, have been at daggers drawn after the move to impeach the governor was thwarted.

On Monday, when he received a Bayelsa State delegation of political and traditional leaders, led by former governor, Seriake Dickson, at Government House in Port Harcourt, Fubara lambasted the Amaewhule-led lawmakers at the state House of Assembly and declared they do not exist anymore in the eyes of the law.

He said in seeking a peaceful resolution to the political crisis that erupted in the state last year, due to disagreements with Wike, his erstwhile political godfather, he had attended several reconciliation meetings. He regretted that despite his effort to adhere to the presidential pact on the political crisis, the other party has continued to distract his government.

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

“I accepted that peace accord to give them a soft-landing. That is 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 was not even a governor. Yes, we might have our disagreements, but I believe 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 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.”

But Okocha said no section of the constitution empowers the governor to declare the Assembly members non-existent.

“The president (Bola Tinubu) cannot be derided by the governor. The president is the leader of our own political party and it will be foolhardy and stupidity on our part to sit down, to see somebody less than Mr. President insult Mr. President under our very nose.

“It is also absurd to see the governor begin to espouse impunity, intimidation on people who are members of our political party and we stand akimbo doing nothing.

“We are here to respond vehemently and stoutly to say to you that as chairman of APC, Rivers State, as representative of Mr. President, that I won’t sit here to see the governor insult the president. We won’t sit here to see the governor declare on his own as if he is a court to declare Assembly members’ seats vacant.

“To that extent, in consultation with my party, we have directed APC Assembly members to immediately commence impeachment processes of Governor Fubara. Impeachment of a government that does not respect the Rule of Law,” he said.

He said if the House of Assembly fails to commence impeachment, the party will invoke the relevant sections of its constitution to discipline them.

“And if they don’t do that, there is what is called party discipline, we shall invoke that aspect of the constitution and deal decisively with them. We will not also sit down here on behalf of Rivers people to see Rivers State become a laughing stock in the comity of nations,” he said.

He described the government of Fubara as clueless, accusing him of squandering Rivers money in the last one year in office.

“Everyday, we find justification in our assertions that the government of Fubara is the worst thing that has happened in our political landscape, in our political history. We are justified every other second in our assertion that the government is clueless, is directionless and it is ruthless.

“And that the governor is even compounding the matter. He is procuring for himself, other very negative dictions and the penchant to deceive Rivers people.

“And, of course, you know that as the main opposition political party in Rivers State, we will never sit down to see all those things and go free, nor shall we allow him to ride roughshod over us and over the people of Rivers State,” he said.

Meanwhile, Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joe Johnson, said Okocha lacked the power to direct the House to commence the impeachment process.

“Okocha by definition is an acting caretaker chairman and you know once there exists a caretaker, it means there is a substantive chairman of APC in the name of Emeka Beke. That matter is before the jury and the issue of if he has the power to direct means that the answer is no,” he said.

Johnson cited Section 109 (1g) of the constitution of Nigeria, saying it has already eliminated the existence of the 27 lawmakers who crossed from the Peoples Democratic Party to APC.

“Because APC, as a matter of fact, does not have leadership, they have a leadership that is Okocha on one hand, in contention with Beke on the other hand. So, whose report shall we follow?

“So, the governor was right to say by our own law, the constitution of Nigeria says once an Assembly member, not House of Representatives, not a governor, not the president, an Assembly member that has moved from his own political party that brought him to power, once he defects, he loses. No court in our land can change it. Once the constitution states a thing, it becomes law.

“What Okocha is raising is a smokescreen. He does not have the locus standi to direct. And let me assure you, Rivers people will resist it to the last point,” he said.

•The Sun