June 18, 2024

Rivers LG Crisis: Fubara’s action in line with constitution, APC chieftain

Abia APC

By Daniel Abia

Against the backdrop of avoidable tension in Rivers state following the termination of the tenure of the outgone local government chairmen last night, Governor Siminalayi Fubara has been commended for being on the path of the constitution.

Speaking exclusively in a telephone interview in Port Harcourt, the state capital on Tuesday, the former spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, campaign Council in the 2023 general elections, Barrister Sogboye Eli said there was nothing unlawful about the action of the Governor asking the Head local government to take over the reign of affairs in the councils.

Barr Eli noted that the law No 2 of 2024 made by the estranged former Speaker, Martins Amaewhule and the sacked 26 members of the Rivers state House of Assembly extending the tenure of the outgone chairmen by six months had been expunged from the laws of Rivers state by Justice D.G. Kio of the state High Court.

“That law has been expunged by Honourable Justice Kio from the laws of Rivers state. It means that it does not exist. So, the outgone Council chairmen cannot rely on a law that is not in existence to continue to stay in office when their tenure had elapsed constitutionally. That law conflicts with the 1999 constitution and section 9(1) of the Rivers state local government Law No 5 of 2018.

“The local government system in Nigeria is more like a department of a state. Governors have a hand in the affairs of the councils. The constitution allows a 3-year tenure for the chairmen and there is a room for second term. But the tenure of these guys elapsed on the midnight of Monday, June 17. That is the law and the constitution”, he said.

The APC chieftain rely on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of the Attorney General of the federation versus the Attorney General of Abia state which ruled on the tenure of the council chairmen in the state in 2021, adding that the judgment applies to all the states of the federation.

Barrister Eli however enjoined that there were few former chairmen who are still eligible to seek re-election into the councils whenever election is scheduled by the Rivers state independent electoral commission, RSIEC.   

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