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Rivers Governor who got involved in power struggle with predecessor

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Siminalayi Fubara is the Governor of Rivers State. He was previously the Accountant General of the State under the administration of then-governor, Nyesom Wike.

Fubara was the anointed candidate of Wike and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State during the March 2023 governorship elections. However, both the former governor and the incumbent have fallen out of favour with each other, leading to a political crisis in the state.

Although Fubara ascended the governorship seat on the shoulders of Wike, he reportedly refused to let the latter control his administrative duties, leading to the crisis.

So, who is Siminalayi “Sim” Fubara, the Governor who is engaged in a political feud with his predecessor?

Siminalayi Fubara biography

Siminalayi Fubara

Amaopusenibo Siminalayi Joseph Fubara, popularly known as Sim Fubara, was born on January 28, 1975, in Opobo Town in Opobo–Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State. He attended primary school at Opobo Primary School and his secondary education was at  Comprehensive Secondary School, Opobo.

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Fubara proceeded to study Accountancy at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology. He holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting from Enugu State University of Science and Technology. In 2013, he got his MBA and later an MSc in 2016, both degrees from the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). The following are Fubara’s professional qualifications and affiliations:

  • Fellow of Nigeria Institute of Management (FNIM)
  • Fellow of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (FCNA)
  • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (FCTI).

Siminalayi Fubara career

Siminalayi Fubara talking
Fubara began his career as a classroom teacher appointed by the Rivers State Post-Primary Schools Board and posted to the Comprehensive High School, Eleme, in 2003. He later transferred his services to the state  Ministry of Finance at the rank of Senior Accountant in 2007. He was later promoted to Principal Accountant and then Chief Accountant, Assistant Director, Deputy Director and Director.

Fubara later became a Permanent Secretary before he was appointed the Accountant General of the state by ex-governor Nyesom Wike.

Siminalayi Fubara politics

Siminalayi Fubara inauguration

Fubara joined Nigerian politics from the grassroots. As a strong member of the PDP, he rebuilt the party after some party leaders in his Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area deserted the PDP. He became one of the party leaders in the local government.

His devotion and contributions to the party helped him emerge as the governorship candidate of the party for the 2023 general elections. Fubara won the elections after polling 302,614 votes to defeat his closest rival, the All Progress Congress candidate, Tonye Cole, who polled 95,274 votes.

Fubara was sworn in as Governor of Rivers State on May 29, 2023.

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Siminalayi Fubara controversies

Siminalayi Fubara with Wike

In 2022, Fubara and 58 other government officials were declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for an alleged N435 billion fraud. He and four other officials were also wanted for an alleged N117 billion fraud. EFCC also made additional charges against him which include alleged criminal conspiracy, money laundering, misappropriation of public funds and abuse of office.

However, he was not picked by the EFCC and was eventually cleared to contest for the office of Governor of Rivers State, which he won.

Around November 2023, news began to circulate in the media about Governor Fubara’s political rift with his predecessor and current Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Wike. According to Punch, the ex-governor tried to impose commissioners, special advisers and other key aides on Governor Fubara. A source, who made this claim, also confirmed that the FCT Minister justified his action by claiming that the governor and all elected officials in Rivers State did not buy nomination forms from their pockets.

The source said: “Yes, the former governor was correct to say he bought the forms for everyone. But pray, with which money? You know the salary of a governor and you know the cost of nomination and expression of interest forms for the Peoples Democratic Party.

“Let those who want to go leave and the governor will assemble members of his team, and not moles planted to spy on the administration.”

In the wake of the political feud, about nine of the commissioners, including Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor, SAN (Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice), have resigned their appointments, confirming the source’s claims that they were imposed on the governor.

Also, the Rivers State House of Assembly commenced impeachment proceedings against the governor, but it failed due to interventions from Fubara’s loyalists. Hence, about 27 lawmakers defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state to join the All Progressives Congress (APC). Subsequently, their seats were declared vacant by the state-backed speaker of the Rivers assembly, Edison Ehie. Fubara also presented the 2024 appropriation bill to only four members of the state assembly.

Earlier efforts by the Federal Government, led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and other stakeholders in the state to resolve the crisis proved abortive. However, on December 18, 2023, reports emerged that both Governor Fubara and ex-governor Wike agreed to end their rift. According to the eight-point resolution signed by Governor Fubara, Wike, other Rivers stakeholders and Nuhu Ribadu, the National Security Adviser (NSA) during a meeting with President Tinubu, all impeachment proceedings against the governor instituted by the state lawmakers loyal to Wike should be dropped “immediately”.

Also, Martin Amaewhule, the leader of the Wike faction in the state House of Assembly, should be recognised as Speaker, while the 27 lawmakers who defected should be taken back as members of the assembly.

Other terms of resolution in the agreement are stated below.

“The remunerations and benefits of ALL members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and their staff must be reinstated immediately and the Governor of Rivers State shall henceforth not interfere with the full funding of the Rivers State House of Assembly,” the agreement read.

“The Rivers State House of Assembly shall choose where they want to sit and conduct their legislative business without interference and/or hindrance from the Executive arm of government.

“The Governor of Rivers State, Sir Fubara, shall represent the state budget to a properly constituted Rivers State House of Assembly.

“The names of all commissioners in the Rivers State Executive Council who resigned their appointments because of the political crisis in the state should be resubmitted to the House of Assembly for approval.

“There should not be a caretaker committee for the local governments in Rivers state. The dissolution of the local government administration is null and void and shall not be recognised.”

Siminalayi Fubara’s net worth

Fubara’s verified estimated net worth is unavailable as of the time of writing this piece.

Siminalayi Fubara family

Siminalayi Fubara with his family

Fubara is second of the five children born to the late Joseph Fubara, a former soldier who had an overseas training tour of duty, and the late Love Fubara, who was a civil servant.

A devout Christian, Fubara is a knight of St. Christopher (KSC) Order of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion). He also holds the traditional chieftaincy title of Amaopu-Senibo of Opobo Kingdom.

Fubara is married to Valerie Fubara and they have three children.

Siminalayi Fubara age

Fubara is 48 years old as of 2023.

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