The New Amended Local Government Laws Of Rivers State: Much Ado About Nothing

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By: Tony C Okocha

The Law speaks in lawful societies, not sentiments.

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended had no express provisions for the administration of Local Governments.

It only recognised Local Governments as the Third tier of Government after the Federal and State Governments.

The Constitution, therefore, vested the powers to make laws to guide the administration and control of the Local Government on the respective States’ Houses of Assembly.

This power wasn’t ceded to the Governors of the States.

It is the States’ Houses of Assembly that recommend the tenures and other ancillary laws of Local Governments, just as it makes laws for the State.

This new amendment to the Local Government law made by the Rivers State House of Assembly in exercise of their powers derived from the grund norm – Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and also in pari material/consistent with Section 135 (3) of the Constitution.

Anyone can read up the aforecited section of the Constitution and relate with the development in Rivers State.

Laws do not take retroactive effects. A law made today doesn’t affect an action taken yesterday. It takes effect from the day it is assented to by the Executive or vetoed by the Legislature in a case where the Executive refuses to assent to the law within the time provided for by the constitution.

The NDDC establishment law of 2000, is a classicus. Many others too.

The newly amended section of the law on Local Government, doesn’t affront the Executive.

In the principle of separation of powers as enunciated by the French Philosopher, Baron de Montesque, he clearly identified three arms/organs of Government and vividly defined roles.

The Legislature makes laws.
The Judiciary interprets.
The Executive executes.

Is there a conflict of functions here?

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State stoutly supports the new amendment of the Local Government law of Rivers State.

The State House of Assembly derived her powers from the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

The new amendment is not ultra vires to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, rather, it is in sync with Section 135 (3) as contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered ).

It is the best of all possible legislation in the present circumstances in Rivers State.

Anyone who is aggrieved or feels so, including Gov Siminialayi Fubara, the Executive Governor of Rivers State and ilk, should approach the Court, not the senseless sponsored media trials.

But let me dare to ask, What was the reason for Gov Siminialayi Fubara’s reluctance nay refusal to conduct the Local Government elections even when the APC in Rivers State aided him by calling his attention to the instant laws?.

The guilty they say, is afraid.

It is also an acceptable aphorism that “clear conscience fears no accusation “

Why does Gov Sim relish in illegalities, jejunes and inanities?.

Is it to add vent to the the Chinese adage that ” Who the gods want to destroy, they first make mad”?.

I note cursorily that even as the Governor and his advisers pass the buck of not conducting Local Government elections in Rivers State to the Rivers State Independent Electoral Commission (RSIEC), they should be reminded that the RSIEC is in the armbit of the Executive organ wherein the Governor is the Chief Executive.

Sir (Chief) Tony C. Okocha, KSC, DSSRS, JP

Chairman, Caretaker Committee (CTC),
All Progressives Congress (APC),
Rivers State.

19th March, 2024.

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