Updated: Fubara swears in 23 caretaker council chairmen

The Rivers state governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has sworn-in caretaker committee chairmen and members for the 23 local government councils he appointed with a charge that they should eschew violence, maintain the peace, and be guided by the constitution.

He also urged them to promote unity, inclusive administration, and  ensure progress at the grassroots. 

Governor Fubara directed the Auditor-General of local governments to commence immediate audit of the accounts of the 23 councils.

He said the swearing-in of the chairmen will ensure seamless administration of local governments following the expiration of tenure of elected chairmen and councilors in the state.

The governor performed the swearing-in at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt Wednesday, amid cheers, jubilations and commendations as the right step to douse the tension and bring everybody in the political space together.

The swearing-in followed the screening and confirmation of the nominees for caretaker committee chairmen and members by the State House of Assembly at the plenary presided over by its speaker, Rt. Hon. Victor Oko-Jumbo, Wednesday.

The list of seven-member nominees per local government council had been forwarded to the assembly pursuant to Section 9 (5) of the Rivers State Local Government Law No. 5 of 2018, for screening and confirmation.  

The governor said the exercise demonstrated his administration’s commitment to upholding the tenets of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that does not provide for tenure elongation.

He stated: “What is happening here now is a defence of democracy. We will not allow the wrong precedent to be created in this country. 

“It is not about Rivers state. It is not about Fubara. But if in any way this attempt of tenure elongation succeeds in Rivers state, it becomes a norm in Nigeria. 

“So, we have taken it upon ourselves to say, not on our own watch will it happen because it is completely alien to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Governor Fubara wondered why tenure of elected officers will expire and they want to perpetuate themselves in office against their oath of office and the provisions of constitution of Nigeria.

The governor made it clearly that such insistence to elongate tenure of council chairmen will not happen in Rivers state and advised the out-gone chairmen, vice-chairmen and councilors to let go and return home.

He said: “So, for those people who are saying, the only reason why they want to continue in office is because election has not be conducted, we have more than 85 percent of the states in Nigeria that are being run by caretaker committees. 

“Ours is different, you had your tenure, you have completed your tenure, it is proper you let go. Life doesn’t create a vacuum. If you are not there again, that is, if your tenure has expired, doesn’t mean I should, because I want to please you, allow you to stay longer. No. It doesn’t happen like that. People must take over, manage the affairs and elections will be conducted.”