President Bola Tinubu reportedly lambasted Rivers governor, Siminalayi Fubara for allegedly demolishing the State House of Assembly Complex when he and the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, had a peace meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Monday, December 18.
According to a report by Premium Times, Tinubu chaired the peace meeting which was attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima, the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, a former governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, and the chairpersons of the PDP and the APC in Rivers.
The report said Tinubu was “very angry” with Fubara over the demolition of the Rivers House of Assembly Complex in the course of the power tussle between the governor and Mr Wike, calling it a “desecration of democracy”.
Tinubu reportedly said he fought for democracy all his life and that he could not imagine a governor demolishing a “symbol of democracy” like the House of Assembly, “wiping out history, not allowing anything to be taken away from there, just destroying it and everything.”
“When I was the governor of Lagos State, the state assembly once stood up to me” Tinubu reportedly said, but that he simply respected them and met them halfway in their demands.
The report added that President Tinubu, at the Abuja meeting, made reference to how he had a “problem with someone in Lagos”, apparently referring to his political disagreement with the then Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos and how he stopped the governor from getting re-elected.
The president said he did not take the laws into his hands, but that he waited till election season for the “renewal of mandate”.
At the height of the Rivers political crisis, 25 of the lawmakers loyal to Mr Wike defected from the PDP, of which Governor Fubara is a member, to the APC which is the ruling party at the centre.
Afterwards, four lawmakers loyal to Fubara got a court order which paved the way for them to take control of the Rivers assembly.
On 13 December, while Governor Fubara was presenting the state’s 2024 budget proposal to the four-member House of Assembly, the state government demolished the House of Assembly Complex claiming the integrity of the building had been compromised after an explosion and fire incident which occurred in October during an attempt by some lawmakers to initiate impeachment proceedings against Governor Fubara.