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Rivers Crisis: Tinubu should uphold the law, not break it – Lawyer

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Rivers Crisis: Tinubu should uphold the law, not break it - Lawyer

Jibrin Samuel Okutepa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has noted that the intervention of President Bola Tinubu in the political crisis rocking Rivers State is against the constitution of the country.

Recall that Tinubu had brokered peace between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, now minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, to end the political crisis in the state.

Part of the resolutions reached was for the 27 members of the state assembly who defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to be allowed to function.

The deal has since been opposed by the leadership of the PDP, which insisted on Tuesday, that the seats of the affected lawmakers remain vacant.

In his intervention via his X account, @jibrinSAN late Tuesday, Okutepa noted that the lawmakers who defected to the APC have by implication, vacated their seats, arguing that Tinubu has no powers to ask them to remain on their seats.

He said, “It was stated that in one of the resolutions reached it was resolved that 27 law makers or law breakers as I preferred to call them are to be allowed to returned to the Rivers State House of Assembly under their new party I guess and to be restored to their various positions before their defection to APC.

“I asked if that resolution was constitutional. I do not think so. Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, as of today, is the president of Nigeria, whether anyone likes it or not. So, being President of Nigeria, he has a duty and responsibility to defend and protect the Nigerian Constitution and not to breach it in the guise of political solutions to constitutional questions.

“The defections of these 27 members of Rivers State House of Assembly may have been politically motivated, but it carries with it grave Constitutional implications that can not be politically resolved.

“First, their seats were declared vacant. The question of whether that declaration is right or wrong can not be solved by the president. That is not his duty.

“It is the duty of the judiciary. The dispute in Rivers State has been turned over to the courts. Political class must allow the courts to resolve the dispute. For the president to accept and agreed that those who breached Nigerian constitution be given part on the back and then allowed to return to their seats sends grave and wrong signals to all that this president has capacity to ignore Nigerian Constitution. I do not think it is the right thing to do.

“As I have always said, the problem of Nigeria is not law. The problem of Nigeria is Nigerian rulers who breached the law with impunity and then gathered themselves to find political solutions to further aggravate and breach the constitution to the annoyance and anger of Nigerian people.

“I do not want to believe that President Tinubu does not know that his executive power does not extend to violating the Nigerian constitution. He does not need to continue to show bad examples. He should be bold enough to enforce the constitution of Nigeria. Any political solutions that breach the Nigerian constitution are unconstitutional and null and void and of no effect.”

Fubara sues for peace

Meanwhile, Siminalayi Fubara, the Rivers governor, on Tuesday, declared that there is no price too big for him to pay to foster peace in the state.

Speaking at the 3rd Convocation and 6th Founders Day ceremonies of the PAMO University of Medical Sciences in Iriebe Town, Obio-Akpor Local Government Area, of the state, the governor, said “There is no price that will be too big to pay to ensure that peace prevails”.

Fubara assured that he is prepared and will continue to pay the necessary price that will quarantee peace, noting that that the provision of quality education system and affordable public healthcare services will remain two vital priorities of his administration that are driven to achieve universal access for all Rivers people.

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“While some progress has been made, it is obvious that a lot still needs to be done to achieve our collective aspirations for universal access to quality education and healthcare for our people. I need not say that no society can progress without educated and healthy people.”

According to the governor, the giant strides achieved within six years of PAMO University founded by Dr. Peter Odili, to become Nigeria’s most outstanding private medical institution.

He announced that his administration has increased the number of students from 100 to 150, who can now benefit from State’s yearly scholarship in the institution.

“I assure you that we have no choice as a government, but to continue to offer tangible material support to enable the university to widen the scope and quality of medical education and services it provides in our State.”

On his part, the Chancellor of the institution, and Chairman Board of Trustees, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar expressed the optimism that the graduating students will be good ambassadors of the institution that has mould them to be excellent in their studies by being human and honest in the discharge of their duties wherever they go.

In his speech, Pro-Chanchellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Peter Odili, who is also former governor of Rivers State said the institution that started in 2018 has come of age graduating students for the 6 years of study to become medical doctors and inducted into the medical profession.

Giving his address, Vice Chancellor of the Pamo University of Medical Sciences, Prof. Michael Diejomaoh said about 89 students graduated with 40 of them as the first products as medical doctors, 49 others from various medical courses and 5 students graduating as first class.

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