Elders in Rivers State have filed an urgent motion ex parte, urging the court to intervene and prevent Governor Siminalaye Fubara from presenting the 2024 budget afresh to the state House of Assembly. The governor’s initial presentation of an N800 billion budget to a faction of the Assembly in December has been at the center of political turmoil in the state.
The Rivers Assembly became factionalized amid a move by 27 lawmakers loyal to ex-governor Nyesom Wike to impeach Governor Fubara. The crisis escalated with the destruction of the Assembly complex in October, revealing strained relations between Fubara and Wike.
President Bola Tinubu intervened in December, facilitating a meeting where both parties signed an eight-point resolution. However, some Rivers elders criticized the resolution, claiming it favored Wike over Fubara and deeming Tinubu’s involvement unconstitutional.
In their recent suit, the elders listed several defendants, including President Tinubu, the Attorney General of the Federation, Governor Fubara, the Rivers Assembly, the Speaker, and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Led by Victor Jumbo, a member of the Rivers State House of Assembly, the plaintiffs are seeking a court order restraining the state House of Assembly from allowing the 27 defected lawmakers to participate in plenary sessions and preventing the passage of another 2024 fiscal budget pending the resolution of the motion.
Lawyer Kayode Ajulo (SAN), representing the elders, emphasized the need for the court to act swiftly. The elders had previously challenged the peace agreement Fubara entered into, describing it as unconstitutional.
Meanwhile, the Rivers Assembly proceeded with the Abuja resolution, conducting a fresh screening of the 10 pro-Wike commissioners who had resigned from Fubara’s cabinet. The Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, expressed frustration with Governor Fubara’s lack of response to correspondences from the Assembly and warned of potential rejections if the trend continues.