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Reactions trail caretaker committee’s tenure elongation


Chris Finebone

Chris Finebone

Reactions have continued to trail the tenure elongation of Caretaker Committee Chairmen (CTCs), by the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Some residents have frowned at the move, which according to them does not mean well for the development of the state, while others argue that the move would encourage hard work.

The state Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned Governor Nyesom Wike and the lawmakers for the amendment of the State Local Government Law to allow unrestricted tenure for caretaker members.

It would be recalled that the House Leader, Martin Amaewhule, penultimate Wednesday presented an executive bill, seeking to amend section 9 of the Principal Law, which has to do with tenure of caretaker committees in the state.  The initial principal law provides only two terms for caretaker committee chairmen.

With the amendment however, the governor at his discretion can reappoint someone who had served two terms as chairman or member of CTC as many times as he wants.

This is coming after the Wike-led administration dissolved and re-appointed CTC chairmen, without conducting council election.

The administration of former Governor Chibuike Amaechi, did same thing by not conducting election, but waited till few months to the expiration of his tenure.

The chairmen then, who were elected under the platform of APC, were taken to court on grounds that their elections did not comply with the electoral laws and procedures. The matter is however, still in court.

The lawmakers, while debating on the bill, argued that the new law, when it becomes operational, would encourage consistency and reward hard work. In their separate debates, House Leader, Martin Amaewhule, Whip, Evans Bipi and Hon Deeya Barine, respectively, called for an accelerated hearing of the bill.

According to Amaewhule, the principal law as it is, can no longer move the state forward. Also, Barine pointed out that the essence of the amendment is to encourage consistency and reward diligence.

When the Speaker, Dabotoru Dima, put the argument to vote, all 15 lawmakers present at the sitting voted to approve the amendment.

But a statement by the publicity secretary of APC, Chris Finebone, described the amendment as a naked rape of democracy.

According to him: “The widely reported amendment of some laws to enable the governor appoint local government caretaker committees perpetually, we believe that what the Rivers State House of Assembly has been goaded into doing is a naked rape of democracy reminiscent of the dark ages and, in any case, we are politically back to the dark ages.”

“Those embarking on this political journey will ultimately find out that they will be held to account for their actions someday.”

The amended section reads: “A caretaker committee appointed under sub-section 4 shall oversee the affairs of the local government for three months. The governor in his discretion can reappoint such person for chairman or member, notwithstanding that the person had served two tenures.”

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