RIVERS: Fubara to decide LG chairmanship amidst tension over tenure extension

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TODAY, June 17, is suppose to mark the conclusion of the three-year term for the elected local government chairmen, a significant event outlined in the state’s Local Government Law.

However, there has been a lot of tension in Rivers State due to the controversies surrounding the expiration of the local council chairmen’s tenure.

This unrest, has primarily been due to the escalating conflict between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, who now serves as the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.

The situation took a critical turn following a fire incident at the Rivers State House of Assembly on October 30, leading to a deep rift within the Assembly.

The division resulted in 27 members supporting Speaker Martin Amaewhule, while four members aligned with the former Deputy Speaker of the last Assembly, Edison Ehie, who was later replaced by Victor Oko-Jumbo.

During this chaos, Amaewhule’s Assembly made changes to the Local Government Law to extend the tenure of elected chairmen and councilors by six months in case elections were not conducted before their term ended.

However, a High Court ruling nullified this amendment, following a lawsuit filed by the council chairmen of Opobo/Nkoro and Bonny.

The chairmen aligned with Wike suffered further setbacks when a State High Court prohibited Amaewhule’s faction from functioning as lawmakers and invalidated their legislative actions.

The recent Appeal Court decision, which upheld the lower court’s order restraining Amaewhule and his colleagues, added to the existing tension.

Despite Governor Siminalayi Fubara reminding the council chairmen of the limited time left in their positions, there is an expectation for him to appoint new chairpersons for the 23 local government areas soon.