Legal Experts Weigh In on Fubara’s Re-Presentation of 2024 Budget in Rivers State

Senior lawyers have offered insights into the legality surrounding the call for Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, to re-present the 2024 budget to the state House of Assembly. The issue gained prominence amid the ongoing rift between Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike, causing a division within the state Assembly.

During the crisis, Governor Fubara initially presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill to a four-member Assembly loyal to him. The bill swiftly passed within 24 hours and was subsequently signed into law by the governor. However, following the intervention of President Bola Tinubu and the signing of an eight-point resolution by the conflicting parties, the governor was directed to re-present the budget to the Assembly chaired by Martins Amaewhule, the speaker of the faction loyal to Wike.

Despite the signed resolution and partial implementation of its terms, the governor had not yet re-presented the budget to the Assembly. This led the Assembly to pass a resolution on Tuesday, urging the governor to fulfil the directive.

In response to these developments, legal experts shared their perspectives. Ben Anachebe (SAN) stated that if the Assembly was not properly constituted or requested a fresh presentation, there would be nothing wrong with the governor re-presenting the budget. In cases where the first budget was assented to by the governor based on the approval of a minority of members, Anachebe argued that it would need cancellation, paving the way for a new appropriation bill, which could be termed an “Amended Appropriation Law.”

Dayo Akinlaja (SAN) emphasized that the issue had transformed into a political rather than a legal matter, introducing exceptional circumstances. He noted, “Therefore, there can be no legal correctness anytime soon in the affairs of the state. As often said, if the foundation is destroyed, what can the righteous do.” The evolving situation in Rivers State reflects the complex interplay between legal and political considerations

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