Brouhaha Over Rivers LG Chairmen’s Tenure

Constitutionally, the tenure of elected Local Government Council Chairmen in Rivers State ended on Monday, June 17, 2024, having completed their three-year term.

Although, the controversial Martin Amaewhule led House of Assembly amended the Rivers State Local Government Law, extending the tenure of Rivers LG to six months, the extension was declared null and void by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Besides, the amendment right from the time it was carried out was considered a nullity as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which made provision for local government administration rendered it unworkable based on supremacy of law.

Thus, based on the supremacy of the constitution and the ruling of the court of competent jurisdiction which rendered the amendment done by the Martin Amaewhule led Assembly illegal, the 23 Rivers LG chairmen, analysts said, should vacate offices latest on Tuesday morning June 18, 2024 to make way for new administration to be constituted by the Governor.

But, it does appear from the information filtering out, that the chairmen had plans to sit tight, as some of them had come out with programmes that will run for a week, or more than that in their LGAs.

In Ikwerre Local Government Area, Samuel Nwanosike has reportedly announced the commencement of a cultural festival that will last for one week.

Chidi Lloyd of Emohua LGA, we heard, had asked youth of the area to come and collect machetes, cutlasses and hoes for farm works. The duration of the collection, reports said, would be for one week. Speculations have been rife about the actual intention of Lloyd in trying to empower youths with dangerous weapons.

Khana Local Government Chairman, according to reports, has declared that one week was going to be used to clear weeds/grasses at the surroundings of the council premises just now his tenure had ended. Khana indigenes have been wondering why he could not clean the council premises for the past three years he operated from there. Some of them were sarcastically asking whether he was going to use the one week to clean financial records of the council as a kind of cover-up.

The outgoing Eleme Local Government Chairman, Obarilormate Ollor, in a viral video was heard urging Eleme people to stay away from the local government area, or face dire consequences, warning that they would see their forefathers if they dare enter the council headquarters.

From Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor LGAs came reports that some youths allegedly led by Chijioke Ihunwo and Edison Ehie barricaded the councils even as Security Agents were keeping vigil, looking out for anybody who will foment trouble.

In Degama and Asari Toru LGAs, youths have reportedly taken over the councils, chanting war songs and demanding that the Chairmen should leave.

With the exception of two local government councils, Andoni and Opobo, which their chairmen and councilors, we heard, had honorably vacated their offices, 21 other LGA chairmen, we gathered, were not making any moves to leave office.

It is against this background that the Governor, Sir Siminalaya Fubara, in a speech he made early morning Tuesday, June 18, 2024 asked the outgoing Chairmen to handover their councils to Heads of Local Government administration. The Governor equally congratulated the Chairmen for their contributions towards the development of Rivers State and wished them well in their future endevours.

Alhaji Asari Dokubo while on a visit to Government House to pay Sallah homage to Governor Fubara, sternly warned the council chairmen to vacate office immediately, having exhausted their tenure.

In the same vein, Rivers Ethnic Youth Leaders, have advised the Rivers LGA Chairmen to go home as their tenure has ended.

The youth leaders were particularly hard on the outgoing Chairman of Eleme LGA, Obarilormate Ollor, who reportedly threatened Rivers people by warning them not set their feet at the councilSecretariat.

In a statement signed by Dr. Legborsi Sunday Yamaabana and made available to journalists, the Ethnic Youth leaders called for the arrest and detention of the Eleme Council Chairman for allegedly threatening Rivers people.

“As peace-loving youths, we call on the Inspector-General of Police, the Rivers State Police Commissioner, the Directorate of State Security Service, and other relevant security authorities to immediately detain Hon. Obarilormate Ollor for questioning over his planned disruption of the peace of Rivers State. Hon. Obarilormate Ollor and his co-travelers should understand that they do not have a monopoly on violence. It appears that Hon. Obarilormate Ollor and his cohorts are yet to wake up to the reality that the dark days of evil prevailing over good in Rivers State are over,” the statement said.

As it stands now, the best option for the LGA chairmen, political analysts posited, was for them to vacate office honorably and handover to Heads of Administration in their various councils as directed by the Governor pending the time LG election is organized, or Caretaker set up. As we were about to go to Press, reports came that irate youths who are members of Simplified Movement, had taken over Khana Council Secretariat, forcing the chairman to run away. Feelers also indicate that a number of other local government councils had been occupied by youths sympathetic to Governor Fubara.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button