Rivers LG chairmen back APC, call for impeachment of Fubara

In a recent development, the Local Government Area Chairmen in Rivers State have expressed their support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in calling on the Rivers State House of Assembly to initiate impeachment proceedings against Governor Sir Siminalayi Fubara. The 21 chairmen, under the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON) Rivers State Chapter, emphasized the importance of safeguarding democracy and upholding the rule of law in the state.

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During a press conference held in Port Harcourt, Hon. Allwell Ihunda, the Chairman of ALGON in the state and the chairman of Port Harcourt City LGA, criticized the governor for withholding the allocation of funds to the local government areas since April. Ihunda described this action as a display of executive recklessness on the part of the governor and highlighted that the governor had failed to convene the Joint Account Allocation Committee Meeting (JAAC), which is necessary for the release and disbursement of funds between the state and local governments.

Ihunda deemed the governor’s conduct illegal and warned that the state was at risk of descending into totalitarianism. He stated, “It has come to the notice of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) Rivers State Chapter that the Rivers State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Sir Siminialayi Fubara… has neglected, failed and deliberately refused to hold the statutory Joint Account Allocation Committee Meeting (JAAC)… and has continued to withhold the statutory allocation due to the 23 Local Government Councils of Rivers State since the month of April, 2024.”

Moreover, Ihunda revealed that the governor had directed the heads of local government administration and other officials to compile salary vouchers and overheads of civil servants, excluding elected local government chairmen and other political office holders. This move was seen as an attempt by the governor to unlawfully access local government funds and pay staff salaries directly, bypassing the elected local government chairmen. Ihunda argued that such actions by the governor sought to undermine the constitutionally guaranteed system of local government and amounted to an illegal proscription of the local government councils.

The ALGON chairman urged the Rivers State House of Assembly to take necessary measures to curb the governor’s excesses. He emphasized that the governor’s actions were not only undemocratic and unconstitutional but also violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantee the system of local government and the receipt of statutory allocations.

In light of these developments, the ALGON Rivers State Chapter called upon President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the federal government to intervene and urge the governor to adhere to the principles of governance, law, and order. They also called on the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to take appropriate steps to check the governor’s actions and ensure the survival and sustenance of democratic institutions in the state.

Meanwhile, Chief Hon. Dr. Irastus Awoto, the Legal Adviser of ALGON and Chairman of Andoni LGA, affirmed that the democratically elected chairmen would not vacate their offices. Awoto explained that the law empowered them to stay in office for an additional six months, as local government elections had not been conducted as scheduled. He stated, “We as local government chairmen are going to remain in office because the law, as amended by the Rivers State House of Assembly, says so. That law has given us an additional six months, and we will remain in office after the expiration.”

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