Rivers Residents React As Constitutional Crisis Looms

Constitutional crises looms in Rivers State, following the amendment of the Local Government law by the State House of Assembly which some people interprete as the move to transfer the power of the governor to the judiciary.

Recall that, the Martin Amaewhule-led Assembly in the amended law said where the governor is unable to or fails to perform the duty of swearing in newly elected chairman and vice chairman upon the expiration of the tenure of the out going local government administration, the house shall by resolution, mandate judicial officers or magistrates to perform the task.

Speaking on this, a legal practitioner innocent Eku told our reporters that the move was the assembly’s attempt to taking power from the governor through the back door.

He said in the area of transferring power, that the Rivers State House of Assembly has no power to arrogate, reduce, add, or subtract from the constitutional powers of the governor can not be derogated by the State House of Assembly.

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He streased that they don’t have the capacity to do so and that their arrangement is a total nullity and illegality.

Dr Eku also spoke on the implication of the law makers no longer holding public hearing before passing bills into law. He said the State House of Assembly has no power to be able to extend the tenure of council chairmen and councillors even by one day. And if they are set to amend or bring in a bill that they can metaphors into a law, then there must be public hearing. Stating that bringing in a bill into a law within 24hours thereby cutting all other relevant organs or procedure is unhealthy to the well-being of the State.

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Another lawyer, Vincent Chukwu said the move is inconsistent with the Constitution, adding that only the governor can delegate his powers and not the State House of Assembly. He explained that at the Constitution, nobody can perform the function of the governor except the governor himself only, or as delegated by him. Mr. Chukwu also spoke about the absence of public hearings by the State Assembly. He stressed that the public must make input, and there is need for them to know the wishes of Rivers people before taking such decision. Stating that the House of Assembly didn’t do this because they have bad intensions.

Some other Rivers residents interviewed by our reporters see this as unguarded clever move by the House, as been motivated by desperation thereby fueling the crisis knowing too well that their seats were declared vacant by the former speaker Edison. The above not withstanding, the residents call for peace so as to allow the governor Sir. Sim Fubara to carry out the governance of the state without distraction for a better development.

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By Nzeuzor Jane & Bestman Orji. PH.