Assembly bars Fubara from appointing LG chairmen

Members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have passed a bill stripping Governor Siminalayi Fubara of power to appoint caretaker committees for the local government areas.

The bill – The Rivers Local Government Amendment Law – was one of the four passed by the House to override the governor’s veto of the same earlier passed to him for assent.

The assembly’s action came on a day the governor swore in the nine pro-Wike commissioners, who had resigned their appointments in the heat of the crisis between the governor and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Nyesom Wike.

Fubara, in a veiled reference to the circumstances that triggered the resignation of the commissioners, said they were caught in the crossfire.

Other bills passed yesterday by the assembly in defiance of the governor’s veto were the Rivers State Traditional Rulers Amendment Law; the Rivers State Advertisement and Use of State Owned Property Prohibition Repeal Law and the Rivers State Funds Management and Financial Autonomy Law.

One other implication of the Local Government Amendment Law is that the state has to conduct local government elections at the expiration of the three-year tenure of the current officials in the next two months.

Martins Wachukwu, Special Adviser on Media to Speaker Martin Amaewhule, said the House, at its 99th Legislative Sitting, bypassed the assent of the governor to the four bills following a letter from the governor justifying why he failed to sign the bills.

The governor, in the letter read on the floor of the House, argued that such amendments would create confusion and breach constitutional provisions.

However, the Speaker, citing Section 100(5) of the 1999 amended Constitution, said the House was empowered to override the governor in the event of the governor withholding assent.

The Speaker then put the issue before the House for members to vote.

Twenty-four of them, more than a two-thirds majority, unanimously voted that the bills should become laws without Fubara’s assent.

The section says “where the Governor withholds assent and the bill is again passed by a two-thirds majority, the bill shall become a law and the assent of the Governor shall not be required.”



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