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Rivers crisis: Five pro-Wike commissioners quit Fubara’s cabinet

 

The political crisis in Rivers state took a further deep Wednesday as five commissioners serving in the cabinet of Governor Siminalayi Fubara resigned from the State Executive Council.

They are Prof. Chinedu Mmom (Education), Dr. Gift Worlu (Housing), Austen Ben-Chioma (Environment), Inime Aguma (Social Welfare), and Jacobson Nbina (Transport), all loyalists of former governor of the state and  Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike.

With their exit from the Fubara-led government, they have joined former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Zacchaeus Adangor, and former Commissioner for Finance, Isaac Kamalu.

Adangor and Kamalu, it would be recalled, resigned  following their redeployment to the Ministry of Special Duties (Governor’s Office) and Ministry for Employment Generation and Empowerment, respectively.

The commissioners were among the nine that had previously resigned from the cabinet at the height of the crisis before President Bola Ahmed Tinubu later intervened.

The truce was however short-lived as parties in the crisis, including their supporters engaged in hot verbal exchange of words.  

The development was coming barely 24 hours after Fubara alleged Wike, his predecessor, left behind for him a huge debt to tend with.

…Fresh resignations

In their separate letters, all dated May 15, and addressed to the governor via the Secretary to the State Government(SSG) Dr Tammy Danagogo, they said the working environment was no more conducive to realising their aspiration for the state under the current leadership.

In his own letter, Momoh, who was in charge of education portfolio, said: “I write to formally tender my resignation as a member of the Rivers State Executive Council as the Commissioner for Education with effect from today, May 15, 2024.

“It is a truism that a calm, safe, and friendly environment would stimulate efficient service delivery and enhanced productivity. It is, however, unfortunate to note that my current workspace has become toxic and no longer guarantees a favourable environment to enable me to realise my set targets for the education sector in the state.

“There is loss of trust, animosity and sharp division among colleagues in the same cabinet which is unhealthy and very unfortunate. I want to thank Your Excellency for the opportunity to serve in your cabinet and wish your administration well.”

Also writing, Ben-Chioma, who headed the environment ministry, blamed his resignation on the festering political crisis in the state.

 “I hereby tender my resignation as the Commissioner for Environment, Rivers State, on this day, May 15, 2024.

“I want to sincerely appreciate Your Excellency for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the State Executive Council. My decision to resign is due to the political crisis befalling our dear Rivers State and other personal reasons.

“It was a privilege to have been of service to you in your administration and wish you all the best in your tenure,” he said.

In the same vein,  Worlu, who was in charge of housing, said: “I write to resign my appointment as the Commissioner for Housing formally. One of the most difficult decisions in my life yet, it is precipitated by the toxic atmosphere that has characterised our working relationship, especially the smouldering arbitrariness of decisions and actions, including the attempt to fuse the executive and legislative arms of government in Rivers State.

“I thank you for the opportunity to serve in your government and wish you the best as you continue to steer the ship of state. Kindly accept the assurances of my esteemed regards.”

Also, Nbina, the erstwhile commissioner for transportation, wrote thus: “I write to formally tender my resignation as Honourable Commissioner for Transport and member of Rivers State Executive Council with effect from May 15, 2024.

“It has been a privilege to serve in this capacity, and thank Your Excellency for the opportunity to serve our state, which I served dutifully and meritoriously.”

Nbina lauded Tinubu for his interventions in the political crisis in the state, which he said was leading to a lack of trust and apathy.

Like her colleagues, Aguma, who headed the social welfare ministry, said the environment was no more conducive under the present administration in the state.

“Pursuant to the current unconducive working environment, it is imperative to tender my resignation as Commissioner for Social Welfare and Rehabilitation, Rivers State.

“I resign with all sense of responsibility especially as there is no room for progressional development in the work place.

“Notwithstanding, the opportunity to serve is appreciated,” Aguma said.