HomeNewsPro-Wike Rivers Assembly Defies Gov Fubara, Pass New Law To Extend Tenure...

Pro-Wike Rivers Assembly Defies Gov Fubara, Pass New Law To Extend Tenure Of LG Chairmen

The Rivers State House of Assembly has passed the Rivers State Local Government (Amendment) Bill into law, overriding the assent of Governor Siminialayi Fubara, who withheld his signature for over two months.

By this new amendment, the House receives the power to extend the tenures of the elected LGA Chairmen by six months in the event of the inability of the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission to conduct local government elections.

The 27 members of the assembly loyal to Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, battled the Governor over his strained relationship with the minister.

The assembly overrode Governor Fubara, after he refused assenting the bill which was forwarded to him on March 13, 2024.

The bill was represented by the Majority Leader, Hon. Major Jack, and debated by members on Monday. The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule then placed it to voting.

With a two-thirds majority votes, the House agreed to override the Governor and passed the Bill into Law.

The latest veto is coming on the heels of five previous vetoes during which the Assembly has overridden the Governor to enact laws.

The Assembly members gathered in the Hallowed Chamber by 8:30 am on Monday, with two items on the order paper for the day.

The Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, informed the House that the Governor had refused to sign an amendment to the Local Government law saying “Members are already aware that we forwarded the amended Bill to the Governor for his assent on the 14th day of March and as it stands the government has chosen to withhold his assent by not getting back to us. So we are empowered by the constitution to make progress and where necessary override the Governor’s assent”.

The House deliberated on the development with the member representing Akuku-Toru II, Loolo Opuende saying, “If he has refused to assent to the Bill we sent to him, at this point our hands are tied and we should go on and override him”.

Another lawmaker, Tekena Wellington, from Asari-Toru Constituency 1, however, took a legal approach and quoted from the constitution “Where the Governor withholds assent and the Bill is again passed by the house of assembly by a two-thirds majority, the Bill shall become law and the assent of the Governor shall not be required. Mr Speaker the question is do we have a two-thirds majority, the answer is yes”.

The Bill is then voted upon by a show of hands and 22 members vote for the house to veto the Governor with none either against or abstaining.

Confirming the passage Mr Amaewhule said, “By this voting, the Rivers state Local Government Amendment law of 2018 is hereby passed for the second time and the assent of the Governor is no longer required in line with section 100 subsection 5 of the 1999 Constitution as altered. The clerk will forward this law to the Governor, the attorney general, and the Chief Judge of the state so they can do the needful”.

 

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