Lawmakers loyal to Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, have elected Victor Oko-Jumbo, the representative of Bonny Constituency, as the new Speaker of the state House of Assembly. This move comes amidst escalating tensions and threats of impeachment against the governor by opposition factions.

The announcement was made on Wednesday night through a statement issued by Oko-Jumbo and a factional Clerk of the House, Dr. G. M. Gillis-West. The newly elected factional Speaker emerged as a response to mounting pressure from the All Progressives Congress (APC) Caretaker Committee and local government chairmen calling for the governor’s impeachment.

The political crisis in Rivers State traces back to the inception of the current legislative session, where Martin Amaewhule, aligned with the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, was elected as Speaker. However, tensions escalated when attempts were made to impeach Governor Fubara, leading to the demolition of the state Assembly complex by the government.

The situation worsened as factions emerged within the Assembly, culminating in the election of Eddison Ehie as Speaker by Fubara’s loyalists. However, a truce brokered by President Bola Tinubu led to the resignation of Ehie, but the unrest persisted.

Recently, the crisis reignited when the state assembly defied Governor Fubara by passing legislation empowering local government chairmen to extend their tenure in office. The governor denounced the assembly as unlawful and challenged their authority.

In response, the APC Caretaker Committee urged lawmakers aligned with the Federal Capital Territory minister to initiate impeachment proceedings against Fubara. However, in a surprising twist, pro-Fubara lawmakers elected Oko-Jumbo as Speaker, further deepening the political divide.

Oko-Jumbo, in his acceptance speech, called on Governor Fubara to cease all interactions with the 25 lawmakers aligned against him, citing constitutional provisions. He declared all actions taken by the opposing faction as null and void in the eyes of the law.

Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the APC’s call for Fubara’s impeachment, describing it as unlawful and an assault on democratic principles. The PDP urged the Inspector-General of Police to intervene and prevent further escalation of tensions.

In a separate development, the Rivers State chapter of the Association of Local Governments accused Governor Fubara of withholding funds from local governments and attempting to undermine the local government system. The association vowed to remain in office beyond their tenure expiration in protest against the governor’s actions.