FUBARA, WIKE AND THE JUDICIARY: Judicial Independence and Integrity

By Caroline Osadebe

The political landscape in Rivers State is undergoing a turbulent transformation, posing perhaps the most significant challenge to our judiciary as an independent institution. Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and lawyers of integrity must rise to the occasion, defending the sanctity of our judiciary.

Recent revelations suggest a concerning development following the 8-point resolution at the Presidential Villa. Allegedly, Barrister Nyesom Wike, alongside top presidential aides, is orchestrating a plan to influence the Supreme Court and overturn Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s mandate.

This maneuvering involves secret meetings between Wike and Tonye Cole, the APC gubernatorial candidate who contested and lost the 2023 election, challenging Fubara’s victory in court.

Wike, once a fervent supporter of Fubara during the Tribunal and Court of Appeal proceedings, has taken an unexpected turn aligning with Tonye Cole’s camp. Their alleged intention is to sway the Supreme Court in a direction unfavourable to Governor Fubara. The role of the presidency in this matter remains unclear, but the proximity of Barrister Nyesom Wike to Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff, has raised eyebrows and fueled discussions about the unfolding events.

Governor Siminalayi Fubara himself has faced threats and intimidation from the presidency, leading to his summons to Abuja and subsequent queries regarding public protests by Rivers residents and statements from some elders in the state.

Fubara, recognizing the looming Supreme Court challenge, made a public statement emphasizing that “no sacrifice is too much to pay for peace in Rivers State.”

The Governor, known for his commitment to peace and his sharp intellect, is navigating immense pressure from both supporters in Rivers State and political figures in Abuja. At this juncture, it is imperative for all individuals of honour to scrutinize the judiciary closely. A collective call must be made to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, urging him not to compromise the powers of our constitution for political gains.

The 8-point resolution, seemingly biased toward one individual, reflects a failed attempt to address the larger issue at hand.

This entire predicament revolves around the fight for the soul of Rivers State, perceived as the most populous and politically significant state in the South-South region of Nigeria. The underlying motive appears to be the upcoming 2027 presidential elections.

In the face of these challenges, we must safeguard the independence and integrity of our judiciary. It is a clarion call for legal luminaries, advocates, and all well-meaning Nigerians to ensure justice prevails, free from political manipulations that threaten the very core of our democratic principles.

* Caroline writes from Port-Harcourt, Rivers State

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