HomeNewsRiveting Budget Drama in Rivers: Fubara Given Ultimatum

Riveting Budget Drama in Rivers: Fubara Given Ultimatum

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 In a dramatic turn of events, the Rivers State House of Assembly, led by Martin Amaewhule, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Governor Siminialayi Fubara to re-present the 2024 budget. This development comes amidst a political tussle involving factions loyal to Chief Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and those aligned with Governor Fubara.

The ultimatum was handed down during a resumed sitting of the pro-Wike faction in an undisclosed location in Port Harcourt. This move follows a recent Court of Appeal judgment in Abuja, which nullified an earlier order by the Rivers State High Court. The High Court had previously barred Amaewhule and 24 other legislators from functioning as lawmakers.

Governor Fubara had initially presented an appropriation bill of approximately N800 billion for the 2024 fiscal year. This bill was deliberated and passed by the Assembly faction loyal to him, under the leadership of former Speaker Edison Ehie. Ehie later resigned to become the Chief of Staff to the governor. The budget was subsequently signed into law by Fubara.

However, President Bola Tinubu intervened in the state’s political crisis, issuing an eight-point resolution. One of the key directives was for Governor Fubara to re-present the already approved 2024 budget to the Amaewhule-led Assembly. This directive aims to address the legitimacy issues arising from the parallel assemblies and ensure proper legislative procedures are followed.

During Monday’s plenary, presided over by Amaewhule, the House resolved to communicate their decision to Governor Fubara through a formal letter. The resolution followed a motion by the House Committee Chairman and Deputy Speaker, Dumped Mao. The motion, put to vote, saw unanimous agreement among the members present.

Court Ruling Sparks Political Showdown

The recent Court of Appeal ruling has intensified the political showdown in Rivers State. The judgment overturned the Rivers State High Court’s decision that had barred Martin Amaewhule and 24 other legislators from functioning as lawmakers. This ruling has reinstated their authority, allowing them to resume their legislative duties.

This legal victory for the Amaewhule-led faction has significant implications for the state’s political dynamics. The court’s decision effectively nullified the actions taken by the pro-Fubara faction, including the passage of the 2024 budget. This has set the stage for a renewed confrontation between the two factions, with each side seeking to assert its authority and legitimacy.

Governor Fubara’s initial presentation of the 2024 budget was a significant move aimed at outlining his administration’s plans and priorities for the fiscal year. The budget, totaling around N800 billion, was meant to address various developmental needs of the state. However, the passage of the budget by the pro-Fubara faction has been challenged by the Amaewhule-led group, leading to the current impasse.

House Resolution and Next Steps

The Amaewhule-led faction has taken a decisive step by issuing the seven-day ultimatum to Governor Fubara. During Monday’s plenary, Amaewhule, who presided over the session, emphasized the need for adherence to proper legislative procedures. He stated that the re-presentation of the budget is essential to ensure transparency and accountability in the budgetary process.

The resolution to communicate the ultimatum to Governor Fubara was put forward by the House Committee Chairman and Deputy Speaker, Dumped Mao. The motion received unanimous support from the members present, underscoring the collective resolve of the Amaewhule-led faction to address the budget issue.

In parallel, the faction loyal to Governor Fubara, led by Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo, held a separate sitting. During this session, they screened and confirmed a Commissioner nominee for potential swearing-in. This move highlights the ongoing division within the state legislature, with both factions continuing to operate independently and pursue their respective agendas.

The political landscape in Rivers State remains highly volatile, with both factions maneuvering for control. The re-presentation of the 2024 budget will be a crucial test for Governor Fubara’s administration and its ability to navigate the complex dynamics of state politics. The outcome of this confrontation will have far-reaching implications for the governance and development of the state.

As the seven-day deadline approaches, all eyes will be on Governor Fubara to see how he responds to the ultimatum. His decision will not only impact the budgetary process but also shape the future political landscape of Rivers State. The resolution of this crisis will require careful negotiation and compromise from all parties involved to ensure the stability and progress of the state.

Source: Vanguard  

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