Fresh move to Stop Gov Fubara of Rivers State from presenting budget afresh
Some elders and stakeholders in Rivers State have filed a motion ex parte asking the court to stop Governor Siminalaye Fubara from presenting the 2024 budget afresh to the state House of Assembly.
This, the governor had in December presented an N800bn 2024 budget to a faction of the Assembly, comprising four lawmakers.
Following the passage of the budget by the lawmakers, Fubara subsequently signed the budget into law.
The Rivers Assembly became factionalised following a move by 27 lawmakers loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike to impeach Fubara.
The crisis saw the destruction of the Assembly complex with an explosive on the night of October 29.
The weeks after revealed that the relationship between Fubara and his political godfather, Wike, had become strained.
President Bola Tinubu, however, waded in in December and summoned the parties to a meeting in Abuja on December 18, where they signed an eight-point resolution to settle the political crisis.
Among the resolution was that Fubara would present the 2024 afresh to the pro-Wike lawmakers, led by the Speaker, Martin Amaewhule.
Another important item on the resolution was that the 10 pro-Wike commissioners who resigned from Fubara’s cabinet in the heat of the crisis would be screened afresh by the Assembly and reabsorbed.
The resolution was, however, criticised by the Rivers elders, who said it was skewed in favour of Wike against Fubara.
They also faulted the role played by President Tinubu, saying it was unconstitutional.
In their fresh suit, they listed as defendants, President Tinubu; the Attorney General of the Federation, Fubara, the Rivers Assembly, Speaker of the Rivers State Assembly, and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
The plaintiffs, led by a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly representing Bonny State Constituency, Victor Jumbo, are Senator Bennett Birabi, Senator Andrew Uchendu, Rear Admiral O.P. Fingesi, Ann Kio Briggs, and Emmanuel Deinma.
They had in December 2023 asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to declare the purported peace agreement Fubara entered into at Abuja meeting as unconstitutional and “an usurpation, nullification, and undermining of the extant/binding relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution.”
The matter has not been heard.
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The Rivers elders, through their lawyer, Kayode Ajulo (SAN), in the motion exparte, called on the court to restrain the state House Assembly and the Speaker of the House from allowing the 27 lawmakers who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party to participate in the plenary.
They want “an order of interim injunction restraining
the Rivers State House of Assembly and Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, their agents, loyalists, privies or representatives by whatever name so called from passing another 2024 fiscal budget of the Rivers State government pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”
Ajulo particularly urged the court to take cognizance of the motion on notice attached with the suit and stop the holding of plenary sessions by the 27 members of the state House of Assembly out of the 32 members.
Meanwhile, in fulfilment of the Abuja resolution,the Rivers Assembly, on Wednesday, conducted a fresh screening and confirmed the 10 pro-Wike commissioners from resigned from Fubara’s cabinet for reabsorption into the cabinet.
The commissioner nominees, who appeared before the lawmakers led by the Speaker, Amaewhule, on Wednesday morning, were given a clean bill of health after they made a brief introduction of themselves.
This followed a motion moved by the House Leader, Hon. Major Jack, who said since the nominees had been screened previously it was needless to do so a second time and craved the indulgence of his colleagues to allow them ‘take a bow and go’.
The Speaker then directed the Clerk of the House, Emeka Amadi, to forward the names of the commissioners’ designate to the governor for action.
Amaewhule disclosed that Governor Fubara had written a letter to the House requesting the screening of the nine commissioners’ nominees.
The commissioners-designate, who are loyal to Wike, are Prof. Zacchaeus Adango, (SAN), Dr. Jacobson Nbina, Dr. Gift Worlu, Mrs Ineme Aguma, Chukwuemeka Woke and Prof. Chinedu Mmom.
Others are Dr Des George-Kelly, Isaac Kamalu and Auten Ben-Chioma.
The Speaker explained that the re-screeni g of the nominees was in line with the presidential proclamation following the intervention of President Tinubu.
Amaewhule, however, fumed that Fubara had yet to respond to some correspondences sent to him by the Assembly.
The Speaker threatened that the Assembly would reject further correspondences from the governor if the trend of not responding to their letters continued.
“It is important we make this very clear that we need to work for the interest of the people of Rivers State, mindful that it is the people who will gain or lose when we choose not to do what we are supposed to do in line with the Constitution,” the Speaker remarked.