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Rivers Assembly overrides Gov Fubara on LGA law, orders elections



In a move that signals a potential power struggle, the Rivers State House of Assembly on Monday, overrode Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s veto on a bill amending the state’s Local Government Law.

The new law strips the governor of the power to appoint caretaker committee chairmen for local government areas (LGAs) and mandates the conduct of LGA elections upon the expiration of current officials’ terms.

This is the first time the Assembly has overruled Governor Fubara, who took office on May 29 last year.

Speaker of the House, Martin Amaewhule, argued that the governor’s veto indicated a reluctance to hold LGA elections. ”

” The key thing here is this law removes the power of the Governor to appoint caretaker committee chairmen,” he stated.

Amaewhule also informed the House that the governor had refused to sign an amendment to the local government law.

READ ALSO: WIKE: Fubara tackles Rivers LG chairmen, says ‘you’ve dug your own pit’

He added: “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 and the bill was then put into vote.

22 lawmakers voted 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”.

This power shift could significantly impact local governance in Rivers State.

It remains to be seen how Governor Fubara will respond. The legality of the Assembly’s override may be challenged, potentially leading to a court battle. This episode underscores a growing tension between the executive and legislative branches in Rivers State, with the implications for governance yet to be fully understood.

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