The Rivers House of Assembly yesterday stripped Governor Siminalayi Fubara of power to appoint a caretaker committee for local government areas in the state after rejecting the governor’s veto against the legislation.
CHANNELS TV reported that the lawmakers overwhelmingly voted against Mr Fubara’s veto, before passing the bill into law, thus barring the governor from exercising the power enjoyed by his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.
With the bills now becoming laws, it means the governor will conduct an election at the expiration of the tenure of the current officials.
The three-year tenure of the current council officials in the state who were elected in 2021 will expire within the first quarter of this year.
The Speaker of the House, Martin Amaewhule, during Friday’s plenary, read four letters addressed to him by the governor wherein Mr Fubara declined assent to four new bills which had been sent to him for assent, Channels TV reported.
The lawmakers, who cited Section 100, subsection 5 of the Nigerian Constitution, said the assent of the governor was not required for the passage into law of the said bills.
The section states that, “Where the Governor withholds assent and the bill is again passed by the House of Assembly by two-thirds majority, the bill shall become law and the assent of the Governor shall not be required.” The speaker accused the governor of not planning to conduct local government elections in the state.
The speaker said, “The key thing here is that this law removes the power of the Governor to appoint caretaker committee chairmen for the local governments, the governor is not happy that we’re removing his powers to appoint caretaker chairmen.”
The lawmakers also passed into law three other bills which the speaker said were vetoed by the governor. They are the Rivers State Traditional Rulers Amendment Law; the Rivers State Advertisement and Use of State Owned Property Prohibition repeal law; and the Rivers State Funds Management and Financial Autonomy Law.
This is the first time that the assembly has overrode Governor Fubara’s veto.