RIVERS: Amid refusal to step down, Gov Fubara, directs LG bosses to hand over to admin heads

Governor of National Rivers State, Siminalayi Fubara, has directed the 23 local government chairmen in the state to hand over to heads of administration of their various councils.

Fubara gave the directive during a statewide broadcast on Tuesday morning.

The directive comes in the wake of the tenure expiration of the council bosses who have however, refused to vacate offices, hanging on a court directive and claiming their tenures were extended by six months.

The three-year tenure of the elected chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors terminated on Monday.

The broadcast was captured in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Nelson Chukwudi, and made available to newsmen.

The governor said, “I wish to acknowledge and commend the dedicated services of the outgoing elected local government chairmen, vice chairmen and councillors who were elected and sworn in three years ago, and whose tenure expired yesterday the 17th of June, 2024, as provided for by the law.

“On behalf of the government and the people of Rivers State, I thank you all for your sacrifices and commend your commitment to public service and our dear Rivers State

I congratulate you all for the successful completion of your tenure and wish you well in your future endeavours.

As we move forward in making sure that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is upheld, and that law and order is maintained as we continue to strive to provide leadership and direction for our people, I hereby direct Heads of Local Government Administration to continue to provide leadership in their respective local government areas.

“Heads of Local Government Administration (HLGAs) are hereby directed to immediately take charge of the councils with renewed vigour and readiness to serve and await further directives as we navigate towards even greater accomplishments together.”

This decision comes amidst a climate of legal uncertainty. A recent court ruling had declared a state law extending the tenure of elected council officials as invalid. The lack of fresh elections creates a leadership vacuum at the local level.

Governor Fubara’s directive prioritizes continuity and stability. The HLGAs, permanent civil servants, are expected to maintain basic governmental functions until a new leadership structure is determined. However, concerns remain about the legitimacy and effectiveness of this caretaker administration.

Critics argue that HLGAs lack the democratic mandate typically associated with elected officials. They worry about a potential decline in public participation and accountability in local governance.

The opposition may push for swift elections to restore democratic legitimacy. However, the timing and legality of such elections remain unclear. Negotiations with the federal government or further court rulings might be necessary before a clear path forward emerges

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