Lawyer Says Rivers Crisis Could Have Triggered Emergency Rule

Reactions and divided opinions continue to trail the 9 July mayhem which ensued at a botched sitting of the Rivers State Assembly with a legal practitioner, Ladipo Johnson, on Tuesday raising concerns of the possibility of a declaration of a state of emergency in the troubled state had the situation gone worse.

The situation which led to protests by citizens in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital, he said “is quite dangerous for the country.”

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Ladipo said that if the situation had gone any worse than it did, “it would have opened the path for a declaration of a state of emergency”.

The crisis, which is currently being investigated by the Senate, has been touted as ‘a cocktail of misdeeds’ by analysts. Mr Ladipo added that a lot of people “are not convinced that the executive arm at the Federal Level isn’t involved.”

House of Representatives passed a resolution that the National Assembly take over the duties of the state assembly. However, being more cautious, the Senate set up an investigative panel and also directed the Inspector General of Police to redeploy Joseph Mbu, the Rivers state Commissioner of Police, a debate which caused the Senate to conducting physical vote for the first time in nine years.

Mr Ladipo stated that although the House of Representatives’call for an immediate take-over is in a bid to restore peace and order. He believes the Senate’s position is “more mature”.

He noted that the National Assembly should have looked into the issue as the Rivers Assembly had been inactive for 3 months before the fall out last Tuesday.

“They probably didn’t know such a thing will happen at the time it happen,” he said.

PDP problems

Owing to the fact that majority of the persons involved in the Rivers Assembly fracas are members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), many have criticised the silence of the party with respect to the issue.

Reacting to this, Mr Ladipo said that the PDP is bound to have problems as a result of its size and diversity.

“The PDP is such a big party size-wise. It takes in various interest groups, various ethnic groups/interests, divergent interests in the country, so it is bound to have problems”.

He went further to say that “the people there are politicians, they are not saints.  They are Nigerians. We know what we are, we know how we are,” he said implying that the characters of the party members is a reflection of the society.

We can be better but “Unfortunately, that mirrors what the average Nigerian is like at the moment,” he said.

He encouraged people with honest motives to become involved in politics.

“Nigerians have to be involved.” The solution to the issue, he said, lies with the people.

He also said that “the party (at the National level) should have stepped in much earlier. If there’s a problem with the state PDP, the National level should have stepped in

If they haven’t to date, then questions need to be asked”.

Rivers Assembly Crisis Is ‘Symptomatic’ Of Nigerian Political Scene

A legal practitioner, Kenneth Odidika, on Thursday analysed the Rivers State Assembly crisis, stating that the incident is ‘symptomatic’ of what the Nigerian political system is about.

Speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Odidika decried the actions of a lawmaker, Chidi Llyod, who was filmed assaulting a fellow lawmaker with the mace of the State House of Assembly.

Mr Lloyd was subsequently rushed to the Government House clinic where he received treatment for injuries allegedly inflicted on him before he battered his colleague.

Mr Odidika, a former politician with the People’s Democratic Party, claims that any wounds on Mr Lloyd may have been self-inflicted to gather pity as such is typical of the nation’s political class.

Narrating his experience as a former politician, he questioned the credibility of Lloyd’s medical condition, asking how someone who was seen attacking a victim land in the hospital for injuries.

He said that Lloyd must be ‘Mike Tyson’ to have had enough strength to attack someone who allegedly attacked him first.

Politics in Nigeria, he added, is all about personal interest and the saga in Rivers state is the same thing that happens all over the nation, only that the situation reached a ‘boiling point’.

“The average Nigerian politician is very devious” he said, stating that this could be an initiative of either the pro-Amaechi faction or the anti-Amaechi faction.

“The characters that have the appellation leader or leaders in Nigeria will not, from what I’m seeing or from what I’m observing, take Nigeria anywhere, except downhill.”

He called on Nigerians to “rise and take back their country.”