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Pro-Wike lawmakers strip Fubara’s power to appoint LG caretakers

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The Rivers State House of Assembly, on Monday,  passed the Rivers State Local Government (Amendment) Bill into law by overriding the assent of Governor Siminalayi Fubara.

The new law, among others, stripped the governor of the power to appoint caretaker committees for local government areas.

It also makes it mandatory for the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission to conduct elections before the expiration of the tenure of local government chairmen.

The new law also provides that if LG election cannot hold for any reason, the tenure of the sitting chairmen would be extended by not longer than six months.

This is the sixth time the House will be overriding the governor to enact laws.

The House, led by its Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, made the decision at its 159th Legislative sitting held at the Assembly Quarters in Port Harcourt.

The decision of the Assembly was disclosed in a statement on Monday by the media aide to the Speaker, Martins Wachukwu.

The Assembly had, on March 13, 2014, passed the Local Government (Amendment) Bill and forwarded the same to the governor for his assent.

Fubara, however, withheld his assent, while the lawmakers threatened that they would go ahead to override him.

The Assembly and the governor have been in a mouse-and-cat relationship since late last year after Fubara fell out with his predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.

Twenty-seven members of the Assembly, including the Speaker, are loyal to Wike and attempted to impeach Fubara last October.

The intervention by President Bola Tinubu doused the tension for a while but recent events have shown that the gladiators are back in the trenches.

The Monday statement by the Speaker’s aide read: “Determined to perform its constitutional duties, the bill was presented afresh by the Majority Leader, Hon. Major Jack, and debated by members.

“Thereafter, the House,  in accordance with the provisions of Section 100(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered, which empowers the House to override the governor, where he withholds his assent; the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, put the question to the House and with two-thirds majority votes, the House agreed to override the governor and passed the bill into law.”

In another development, the House also screened and confirmed nominees for the position of chairman and members of the Assembly Service Commission.

Those screened and confirmed were Sampson Worlu as Chairman; Abinye Blessing Pepple, Mrs Blessing Belema Derefaka, Mr.Gbaranen Robinson and Madam Dorcas Amos as members.

The statement recalled that the Assembly had on March 22, 2024, passed the Rivers State Assembly Service Commission(Amendment) Bill into law, wherein the House donated back to itself the power to appoint the chairman and members of the Assembly Service Commission.

Efforts to get the reaction of the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, proved abortive as his line was busy when our correspondent put calls across.

Also, he had yet to reply text and WhatsApp messages sent to him as of the time of filing this report on Monday.

Source: Punch