Rivers State Crisis Deepens As Pro-Wike Lawmakers Issue Gov. Fubara Ultimatum Over 2024 Budget

THE last may not have been heard of the Rivers State crisis as the Martin Amaewhule-led House of Assembly leadership has given Governor Siminalayi Fubara a seven-day ultimatum to re-present the 2024 appropriation bill before the House.

But a Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, has granted an order retraining the Chief Judge of the State and the Clerk of the House of Assembly from receiving an impeachment article or resolutions from the 27 estranged lawmakers.

Fubara, on his part, has told his detractors to tell the world his offence for the daily criticism and condemnation.

This was as the faction of the assembly led by Victor Oko-Jumbo, at a parallel sitting, screened and confirmed Mr. Emmanuel Frank-Fubara as a commissioner-designate.

At the same time, a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Katsina State, has accused the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyeson Wike, of colluding with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to destroy the opposition party.

The lawmakers loyal to Wike, had in a resolution, rising from their resumed sitting on Monday, alleged that Fubara’s recent actions were in breach of the 1999 Constitution.

In the resolution letter addressed to Fubara and signed by Amaewhule, they stated that the governor “Is yet to present the 2024 Appropriation Bill of the State to the duly constituted Rivers State House of Assembly in line with the provisions of Section 121 of the Constitution and in compliance with the judgement of Justice Omotosho of the Federal High Court.”

The Pro-Wike lawmakers said the 7-day ultimatum would start from the date of the Resolution to present the Appropriation Bill to the House, which was yesterday July 8, 2024.

They also drew the attention of Fubara to “a breach of Section 192(2) of the Constitution wherein he swore-in purported members of the State Executive Council as Commissioners as well as a breach of Section 7 (1) of the Constitution and the Rivers State Local Government (Amendment) Law, 2023, wherein he again swore in certain unelected individuals to manage the affairs of the 23 Local Government Councils in the state, in flagrant disobedience to the constitution and judgement of Justice Omotosho of the Federal High Court.”

Amaewhule alleged that the governor had disregarded the constitution and judgements of courts, transacted legislative business with three members of the Assembly, whom he claimed were suspended by the House.

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He continued that the screening and confirmation of commissioner-nominees for appointment, caretaker committees and other approvals by the Oko-Jumbo-led Assembly were allegedly declared null and void by the recent Court of Appeal judgement.

Amaehule, therefore, called the governor to do the needful without further delay, saying “these constitutional breaches constitute gross misconduct and abuse of office.”

A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt, has granted an order retraining the Chief Judge of the State and the Clerk of the House of Assembly from receiving an impeachment article or resolutions from the 27 estranged lawmakers loyal to Wike.

The trial Judge, Justice D Jumbo Stephens, granted the order filed by Victor Oko-Jumbo and five others registered in Suit Number PHC/2177/CS/2024, on July 8, 2024.

The fresh order issued by the court on Monday, read:
“That an Order of Interim Injunction is hereby made restraining the 31st and 32nd Defendants from dealing or howsoever relating with the 1st-27th Defendants as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and from receiving, forwarding or howsoever acting on any resolutions, articles of impeachment or other documents or communication from the 1st — 27th Defendants pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction already filed herein.

“That the parties to this suit are hereby directed to maintain the status quo ante in this suit as at 5th July 2024 pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction already filed herein.

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“An Order is hereby made for substituted service of the originating and other processes in this suit on the 1st— 30th Defendants by pasting the same at the gate of the Rivers State House of Assembly Quarters, opposite former NDDC headquarters, off Aba Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.”

The court, however, adjourned the matter till July 15, this year for the motion on notice for interlocutory.

Fubara Challenge Detractors on His Offence

Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, has told his detractors to tell the world the offence he committed to deserve the daily criticism and condemnation.

He declared that he was not an ungrateful person, saying he acknowledged and appreciated those who were instrumental to good gestures that had come his way.

The governor made the assertion, on Monday, when he hosted stakeholders of Ikwerre ethnic nationality, on a courtesy visit at the Government House in Port Harcourt.

Fubara stated that it was due to such well-breed lifestyle and personality that he had never contemplated throwing caution to the wind in handling the current political crisis bedeviling the State.

“I want to also say this. Fubara is not an ungrateful person. If I were a bad person, you can’t hide character that is bad more than one week, two weeks, one month, one year, two years, eight years, even more than eight years. For 16 years, if I was a bad person, everybody would have known.”

Pro-Fubara Legislators Screen, Confirm Commissioner-designate

Also, in their deliberation, the pro-Fubara’s lawmaker confirmed Frank-Fubara as a Commissioner-designate.

Oko-Jumbo directed the clerk of the House to communicate the confirmation of the commissioner-designate to the governor, for possible swearing-in as member of the State Executive Council.

The screening and confirmation followed a letter sent by Fubara to the Speaker, requesting that the house confirm Frank-Fubara as a Commissioner to serve in the State Executive Council.

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Reading the letter during plenary at the temporary facility used for Legislative business in Port Harcourt, yesterday, Oko-Jumbo said Fubara sent the request in pursuant to Section 192 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Frank-Fubara a native of Abonnema Town in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area, had during the screening told the House that he had been in legal practice for 26 years, where he managed his private legal chamber in Port Harcourt after being called to bar in 1998.

‘Wike Colluding with APC to Destroy PDP’

Meanwhile, a faction of the PDP in Katsina, led by a former Secretary to the state government, Dr. Mustapha Muhammad Inuwa, described Wike as a dictator, whose actions were destroying PDP at the national level.

Inuwa while addressing PDP chieftains on Sunday at his office in Katsina ahead of the party’s congress, alleged that Wike was colluding with key APC officials to blemish the affairs of the PDP.

“The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike is now controlling the PDP at the national level. Whether we like it or not, Wike is a member of the APC and is working with APC members to destroy PDP.

“But this will not happen in Katsina, because we will not fold our arms to allow a single person to control the structure of the party with thousands of members in the state. We will ensure that justice and equity prevails in our party,” he said.

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