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Okupe gives solution to Rivers crisis

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A former presidential spokesperson, Dr Doyin Okupe, has described the political crisis in Rivers as a “total misfortune”, saying that it requires a political solution.

Okupe, a former Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.

Rivers has been engulfed in a political crisis over a power tussle between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who is now the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

The rift has polarised the State House of Assembly, with lawmakers loyal to both political gladiators electing different Speakers to lead the House.

Lawmakers loyal to Wike recently dumped the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to join All Progressives Congress, while a couple of commissioners loyal to the minister have quit Fubara’s cabinet.

A State High Court in Port Harcourt had in May barred the lawmakers from parading themselves as members of the state’s House of Assembly after their defection to APC.

The order followed a suit filed by a factional Speaker, Victor Jumbo, and two other lawmakers loyal to Fubara.

The court held that all of the laws made by the other factional Speaker, Mr Martin Awaewhule, and the 24 other lawmakers loyal to Wike would amount to a nullity until the matter was determined.

The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, however, on Thursday, vacated the order that sacked 25 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, who defected to APC.

The appellate court, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel of Justices, held that the Rivers State High Court, which issued the order, lacked the requisite jurisdiction to do.

Reacting, Okupe said the crisis in the state was caused by disregard for rules and laws.

The LP chieftain stated that while the judiciary can help to put things right, the best way to end the festering crisis is to proffer a political solution.

He said, “That is a total misfortune, and the real issue if we look at it properly, is that we do not obey our laws. if only we obey our laws, this situation cannot surface at all.

“The courts have to help, the judiciary must be consistent, fair and judge according to law, not any other sentiment

“Let us all obey our laws and our rules and let the court adjudicate according to the law and anybody who flouts the law should pay for it.

“The way things are going in Rivers right now is dangerous, but a political solution is what I will suggest, as a very experienced politician.”

Emphasising the need for a political solution, Okupe said politics is about interest and that the crisis would end if the interests of the disagreeing parties were discussed and reconciled.

He said, “In all my years of politics, I have never seen anything in this world that a political solution cannot resolve in all political disagreements.

“Politics is about interest. What is the interest of A and what is the interest of B, and how can we marry them? That’s is all.”

 

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