21 Dec Nigeria: Former Lagos SSG Affirms Constitutional Nature of Tinubu’s Involvement in Rivers Crisis
By Zuleihat Owuiye, Mamos Nigeria
Chief Olorunfunmi Basorun, a former Secretary to the Lagos State Government and a legal expert, asserted that President Bola Tinubu’s involvement in the ongoing tensions between the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, and Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, is constitutional. Basorun emphasized that as the “father of the nation,” Tinubu’s intervention was justified, with no constitutional prohibition.
This statement by Basorun comes as a response to remarks made by rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, who deemed Tinubu’s intervention as unconstitutional. Falana argued that Tinubu’s role could only be advisory, lacking a constitutional mandate to intervene in state political affairs.
Basorun countered these claims, stating that Tinubu’s position as the elected President makes him the foremost citizen of Nigeria and the father of the nation. In his view, if issues jeopardize the nation’s peace, security, or the lives of its citizens, the President has a responsibility to intervene.
He further highlighted that critics did not object to Tinubu’s intervention in the matter involving Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, questioning the perceived double standards. Basorun argued that Fubara’s actions could lead to anarchy in the state and potentially spill over to neighboring states if left unchecked.
Addressing the reinstatement of 27 lawmakers who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress, Basorun challenged Falana’s interpretation, noting a rider in the constitution allowing defection without breaching the law in cases of party disputes. He criticized the destruction of the Rivers House of Assembly complex and urged for Tinubu’s intervention.
While acknowledging the potential for debate over the constitutionality of Tinubu’s intervention, Basorun called for an apology from Falana for insinuating that the President was meddling in Rivers affairs.