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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Fubara orders outgoing Rivers council chairmen to vacate seats immediately

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Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has directed administrative heads of local governments to take charge of the councils and await further directives once the term of elected council chairmen and councilors expires on Monday.

“The heads of local government administration are ordered to immediately take charge of the councils and await further directives,” the governor said in a broadcast Tuesday morning.

Mr. Fubara congratulated the outgoing presidents on completing their terms and wished them the best in their future endeavors.

Tension has been rising in the oil-rich state as youths from some local government areas, including Degema and Asari-Toru, seized the council headquarters, insisting that council chairmen leave their positions as their mandate expired on Monday.

In Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor LGAs, there was a massive presence of security officials to prevent a breakdown in law and order, Punch newspaper reported.

According to the newspaper, only two chairpersons of local government councils in the state – Enyiada Cooley-Gam, chairperson of Opobo Nkoro local government, where Governor Fubara hails from, and Anengi Barasua of Bonny local government – held Action services Thank you before delivery. .

The remaining 21 presidents, who insist on keeping their positions, depend on an amendment to the local government law made by legislators opposed to the governor. The amended law granted council officials a six-month reprieve if Governor Fubara did not hold local government elections.

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The question

The three-year term of elected local government officials in the state ended on Monday. They assumed office three years ago under the administration of former governor Nyesom Wike, now FCT minister.

Wike, who helped bring Governor Fubara into office, later fell out with the governor, and the two have continued a rift that has threatened the peace of the state.

The rift intensified when some state legislators loyal to Wike initiated impeachment proceedings against Governor Fubara, which led to the burning of a section of the state House of Assembly complex and its subsequent demolition by the state government.

The crisis prompted an intervention by President Bola Tinubu who brokered a peace deal between Messrs Wike and Fubara after the seats of the 27 pro-Wike legislators were declared vacant following their defection from the PDP to the APC.

After the peace deal, pro-Wike lawmakers returned to the state assembly and conducted legislative business, but it took a long time before the controversial deal collapsed. Legislators took advantage of their overwhelming majority and passed several bills overriding Governor Fubara’s veto.

A key gap between Messrs Wike and Fubara is control of the political structure in the state, particularly grassroots governance.

In an apparent move to ensure that the FCT minister retains control of the grassroots political structure, lawmakers amended the local government administration law, stripped Governor Fubara of the power to appoint an interim committee and extended the term of chairmen of local governments for six months. in case the state government did not hold elections.

Angered by the constant overriding of his veto by pro-Wike legislators, Fubara declared in May that the legislators do not exist because of their defection to another party.

Days after the declaration, Victor Oko-Jumbo emerged as the speaker of a three-person assembly backed by Governor Fubara.

Oko-Jumbo, after his appearance, obtained an order from a State High Court restraining pro-Wike legislators from parading themselves as members of the state assembly.

The court also set aside all legislative actions taken by pro-Wike lawmakers and barred Governor Fubara from implementing them.

Dissatisfied with the court’s decision, pro-Wike lawmakers led by Martin Amaewhule asked the Port Harcourt Court of Appeal to set aside the high court’s order, but the appeal court refused and ordered the parties to maintain the “current status quo.” ” pending determination of the appeal.

Despite the appeal court’s decision, Ikwerre Local Government Area Chairman Samuel Nwanosike told PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday that the court had validated all resolutions taken by the Amaewhule-led assembly, including the extension of the mandate of elected council officials in the state.

Furthermore, Wike-backed lawmakers held a press conference shortly after Friday’s appeals court rulings, warning that the assembly (referring to the 25 pro-Wike lawmakers) would not accept a list of interim committee members.

At a recent function in the state, Governor Fubara reminded council chairmen that their days in office are numbered.

Tuesday’s directive from the state’s governor is expected to cause more confusion in a state on the brink of violence.

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