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Tenure Extension: Southern Govs Back Fubara Against Wike

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Governors from the southern region of Nigeria have voiced support for Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s stance on the tenure of local government chairmen in Rivers State, denouncing attempts to extend their terms beyond constitutional limits.

Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum and Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, emphasised the constitutional implications of the issue.

He described the agitation for the extension of the tenure of elected officials as against the law.

The agitation has pitted Fubara against his erstwhile godfather and former governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike.

“It is unconstitutional for anybody to extend the tenure of constitutionally elected public servants,” Governor Abiodun asserted.

“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 controversy arose following the Rivers State House of Assembly’s decision to extend the tenure of local government chairmen, a move Fubara rejected by appointing caretaker chairmen instead.

Abiodun warned that such actions could set a dangerous precedent and undermine democratic principles in Nigeria.

“If tenure extension is allowed, then it will become a reference point in the future and is capable of truncating democracy in Nigeria,” Abiodun cautioned.

Beyond the tenure dispute, the governors discussed regional infrastructure development during their meeting at the Presidential Lodge in GRA Ibara, Abeokuta.

Sixteen out of seventeen governors constituting the forum, with only Rivers State Governor, Similayi Fubara, absent.

The governors expressed appreciation for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s support for the coastal road project, which they believe will significantly boost economic connectivity across southern states.

“We were unanimously appreciating President Tinubu for the construction of the coastal road,” Abiodun acknowledged.

“This road connects almost all southern states and will serve as a key enabler of economic development, creating numerous job opportunities.”

The forum also prioritised a comprehensive modal transport master plan to integrate rail, water, and road transportation systems.

This initiative aims to enhance investment facilitation and improve the overall well-being of residents across the southern region.

The forum had appointed Abiodun as its and named Anambra State Governor, Professor Charles Soludo, as Vice Chairman.

While some governors were physically present, others were represented by their deputies.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwoolu, had formally announced the appointments of Abiodun and Soludo, underscoring the consensus achieved among the southern state leaders.

Reflecting on his new role, Governor Abiodun expressed gratitude and outlined the forum’s renewed agenda.

“It is indeed an honour and a humble one at that, that I have been nominated to lead the Southern Governors’ Forum, alongside with Professor Charles Soludo as the Vice Chairman of this forum.

“I want to thank all the Governors for coming to Abeokuta today for this meeting, the first meeting after about three years,” he said.

Abiodun emphasised the importance of their collective goals, promising transparency in their actions.

He said, “We have discussed a whole ranging number of issues but because of time constraints, myself and Governor Soludo will make available to you pressmen the details of our communique that reflects our aspirations, our determination and the new and repositioned Southern Governors’ Forum.”

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