Southern Governors Back Fubara On Tenure Of Local Govt Chairmen In Rivers State

Governors of the southern region of the country have declared support for the position of Governor Siminalayi Fubara on the tenure of local government chairmen in Rivers State.

Speaking on the political upheaval in Rivers State based on the tenure of local government chairmen, the chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, said it was unconstitutional for anybody to extend the tenure of constitutionally elected public servants.

He argued that the law is very clear on the tenure of elected officials, and when the tenure expires, there is no need to extend it by whatever means.

Speaking against the backdrop of the decision of the Rivers State House of Assembly to extend the tenure of the local government chairmen in the state, but which was refused by Governor Fubara, who then went ahead to appoint caretaker chairmen, Abiodun in an interview with a national television said it would be a dangerous precedent to extend the tenure of local government chairman.

Speaking on behalf of other Governors from the region, Abiodun said if tenure extension is allowed, then it will become a reference point in the future and such is capable of truncating democracy in Nigeria.

He said: “On local government administration, it is a constitutional issue that will be put to rest at a point in time.

“When your tenure has expired, it stands to reason that your tenure has expired.

“It is not up to the governor of that state or anybody else to extend the tenure of the local government chairmen.

“The collective position of the governors is that it would be a dangerous precedent and an abuse of the democratic ethos for the tenure of an elected local government chairman to expire and for anyone to imagine that their tenure can be extended by one day.

“I think that puts that matter to rest. If that is not the case, that becomes a precedent, a reference point, and the thing is that somebody will ask for a tenure extension.

“Our democracy has evolved and we should not do anything to truncate the process.”

Abiodun, who revealed that the forum also agreed on a modal transport master plan for the region as part of infrastructural development, noted that the governors were delighted with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the award of the coastal road project.

“We spoke about infrastructure. For us to be regionally integrated, we must have the infrastructure for investment facilitation, promotion, for enhancing movement of goods and services.

“On that note, we were unanimously appreciating President Tinubu for the construction of the coastal road.

“This road connects almost all southern states. It is a key enabler of economic development like no other. It will also create a lot of job opportunities.

“We also spoke of the need for the Federal Government to transfer some of the Trunk A roads to the states if a state government is prepared to take on such roads.

“We also agreed to have a modal transport master plan that allows us to connect rail, water and road transportation because we realised that transportation is key to enabling investment promotion, facilitation and the general wellbeing of our people.”

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