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Uncertainty over Rivers budget as Assembly crisis persists

Pro-Wike lawmakers reconvene plenary Commissioner optimistic of passage No amount of sabotage will make me surrender my mandate – Fubara   There is uncertainty in…

  • Pro-Wike lawmakers reconvene plenary

  • Commissioner optimistic of passage

  • No amount of sabotage will make me surrender my mandate – Fubara


There is uncertainty in Rivers State concerning when Governor Similanayi Fubara will present the 2024 Appropriation Bill with the crisis in the state House of Assembly festering, Daily Trust reports.

While the majority of the state lawmakers loyal to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike reconvened plenary on Wednesday, it remains unclear if the governor would approach them for the presentation of the appropriation bill.

Efforts made by our reporter to speak with the state’s commissioner for finance on the state of 2024 Appropriation Bill were unsuccessful but sources close to the ministry informed our reporter that the 2024 budget has been drafted and awaiting transmission to the Assembly for approval.

Similarly, the state Commissioner of Information, Joe Johnson told Daily Trust yesterday that no one can rule out the presentation of the 2024 Appropriation Bill but refused to comment on where the governor would be presenting the budget.

He said all the agencies are working hard to ensure that the deadline is met.

“Don’t rule out anything, the budget is still there. Don’t rule it out, our budget is still being scrutinised and various agencies are trying to meet up the set deadline,” he said.

Daily Trust reports that the present crisis rocking the Assembly, which has led to factionalisation of the parliament into two opposing leaderships, appeared to have continued to frustrate the efforts towards the presentation of the 2024 budget.

The 32-member Assembly was polarised following the October attempt to impeach the governor by the Martins Amaehwule-led leadership with 27 members. But the plot was thwarted by the suspended majority leader of the House, Edison Ehie, a close ally of the governor, who later formed a parallel leadership of the Assembly with four others and claimed to have emerged as the speaker. The crisis had made it difficult for the House to sit and deliberate on legislative matters until Wednesday when the Amaehwule-led lawmakers reconvened plenary at the Assembly Complex.

A lawmaker loyal to the Amaewhule-led faction of the Assembly, however, told Daily Trust that they are open to receiving the budget if it’s presented to them.

The lawmaker, who pleaded anonymity, said suntil they see the budget they will know what to do with it.

Fubara’s camp moves to plan B

But Governor Fubara’s camp seems to have initiated a plan B to ensure that the governor has his budget approved for the 2024 fiscal year.

This, they have done by using the instrumentality of the court to ensure the governor gets his budget approved, by making the National Assembly take over the legislative functions of the Rivers State Assembly.

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Monday ordered that the suit seeking this order be transferred to its Abuja Division.

The court, presided over by Justice P. M. Ayua, held that since the National Assembly, the 1st Respondent in the matter sits in Abuja and there is a similar action filed in Abuja with similar parties, the suit in Port Harcourt be sent to Abuja, so that both matters can be heard and determined together.

The counsel for the applicants in the suit, Frank Ayebaekipreye, told journalists that “The constitution under section 14(4) said that in cases where there is a crisis or where the state assembly cannot sit, the National Assembly shall take over the legislative functions of the house that is why the applicants are here in court.”

No amount of sabotage will make me surrender my mandate – Fubara

In a related development, Governor Fubara yesterday said that no level of sabotage in some quarters will make him abandon the mandate given to him to serve, protect and advance the fortunes of the State.

Speaking while declaring open the 115th and 116th combined Quarterly General Meeting of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers in Port Harcourt on Thursday, Governor Fubara reaffirmed his commitment to serve with humility, sincerity of purpose and accountability.

“I assure you that I will not fail in this responsibility nor will I surrender our mandate and progress to intimidation, blackmail and deliberate sabotage. I reaffirm my earlier statement and recommit myself to the path of peace as there is nothing to gain in a state of needless crisis,” he said.

The governor said the 2024 budget of the state will prioritize and provide sufficient funding to create universal access to affordable and quality education and healthcare services in Rivers State.

In his address, the Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse declared the support of the council to the governor.

Ohna Awuse urged troublemakers who are fanning the embers of discord to cease from the acts and allow the governor to concentrate and do the work he was elected to do.





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