Fear grips Nde residents over incessant bandits attack

Rivers LG council tenure has expired, PDP insists

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Against the rising tension in Rivers State over Monday’s expiration of the tenure of elected Rivers State local government councils, the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has insisted that there can be no tenure elongation for them as the Constitution has no room for it.

Speaking exclusively to the Nigerian Tribune on Monday, the national publicity secretary of the main opposition party, Debo Ologunagba, maintained that there is a fixed tenure for the council which has been completed.

Citing the provision of the Constitution, he wondered whether any house of assembly has the power to extend the tenure, stressing the PDP’s belief that the rule of law must be followed.

Recall that some outgoing local government chairmen loyal to the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, have insisted that their tenure has been extended by six months through the amendment of the Rivers State local government laws and therefore, they are not ready to give up their office.

The situation is said to be generating tension as other groups opposed to them appeared to be spoiling for a confrontation with them.

Speaking on the matter, the PDP national spokesman maintained: “We believe in the Constitutional provision of three years. That’s what the Constitution provides. It’s not what we wish. It’s what the Constitution says. “We believe in the constitutional provision that says the tenure of local government councils is three years.

It’s not about what we believe. That’s the provision of the Constitution.”

The PDP national publicity secretary took cognizance of the ongoing court cases concerning the Rivers State local government councils, noting that why the party may not be able to say much on the matter, it believes that when tenure expires, the occupants of the offices must vacate them to enable replacements to be chosen.

“We are a country of law and the constitution and procedures. If there is a tenure expiration, it follows that the occupier of that position will have to leave at the expiration of that tenure,” Ologunagba said.

“If the tenure has expired, there is a process to have new occupiers of those positions to continue,” he added.

On the insistence of the outgoing Rivers State Council officials to remain in office, the PDP spokesman observed: “We are not a banana republic and of course, tenure elongation is not recognized by the Constitution and it shouldn’t be so.

“So, we would expect that the process of the law would be followed. That’s our expectation.”

Elaborating on the PDP’s position, he added: “It is not what I say, it is what the law says. There’s a tenure in local government just like every public office and the tenure is doomed. There’s no magic about that.

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“If you say the court has pronounced that so-called extension (by house of assembly) may not be legal, for me or as a party, we believe the rule of law must follow.

“If there’s a tenure that has expired, there will be processes to replace those positions. That’s where we stand. We believe the rule of law must have its course.”

“If there’s a tenure that has expired, of course, the due process of law must be put in place for the reconstitution of that local government council.

“Does the house of Assembly have the power to extend the tenure? Again, those are matters before the court and as a law-abiding party, we will rely on the court determination one way or the other,” he stated.

Also speaking on the alleged anti-party activities of the national vice chairman (South-South) of the PDP, Dan Orbih, who is alleged to have denied his support to the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the forthcoming Edo State election, Dr. Asue Ighodalo, Ologunagba said that the PDP will explore its internal processes if need be.

Asked what the party would do about the alleged anti-party activities, he said: “Our party is a party of rules, of process, of procedure. If there are allegations of anti-party, we will investigate and if found to be true, we will follow our rules on what to do with that.”

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE


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