The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State has urged Governor Siminalayi Fubara to utilize the opportunity presented by the Federal High Court judgment to properly present the 2024 budget before the State House of Assembly.
Chief Tony Okocha, the Chairman of the APC caretaker committee in the state and Rivers State representative in the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), conveyed this message while addressing the press in Port Harcourt, the state capital. Okocha applauded the Federal High Court in Abuja for nullifying the N800 billion budget passed by the Edison Ehie-led group of the Rivers State House of Assembly and subsequently signed into law by Governor Fubara.
Emphasizing that the budget was never presented correctly, Okocha highlighted that the Ehie-led group did not meet the statutory requirement of forming a quorum in the House, which is one-third (approximately 10 persons). Therefore, the APC chairman argued that the presentation and passage of the budget were done in error.
Okocha stated, “The budget was presented in error. There is no way 4 Assembly Members will be sitting as an Assembly when the law stipulated one-third, which is about 10 members. So it means that the Assembly never met, and for the Governor to take such a risk amounts to putting something on nothing.”
In light of the Federal High Court judgment, which also restrained the Governor from interfering with the affairs of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Okocha called on Governor Fubara to present the budget to the Rt. Hon. Martins Amaewhule-led Rivers State House of Assembly for the benefit of the people of Rivers State.
The Federal High Court in Abuja had set aside the N800 billion budget passed by the faction led by Edison Ehie, ruling that its presentation and passage were null and void, in breach of a court order issued on November 30, 2023. The court also prohibited Governor Fubara and other defendants from interfering with the assembly led by Martin Amaewhule, declaring the passage of the bill into law a willful breach of the court order.