Rivers Crisis: I Won’t Represent 2024 Budget, Fubara Vows

Rivers State governor Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has vowed not to represent the 2024 Appropriation Bill To the Hon. Martins Amaewhule-led House of Assembly.

He said the seats of Amaewhule and 24 others were declared vacant on December 13, 2023, after they dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Fubara spoke yesterday when he received on a solidarity visit, the leadership structure, critical stakeholders, opinion leaders, women and youths of Etche and Omuma local government areas led by Ogbakor Etche, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Etche ethnic nationality at Government House, Port Harcourt.

The governor stated that his administration has started preparing the 2025 appropriation bill for presentation to the House of Assembly.

He further stated that the Amaewhule-led lawmakers were truly gone and would eventually return home because they desired it to be so when they defected from the PDP to the APC voluntarily.
Fubara dismissed their recent ranting as noise-making from delusional people and urged the 25 former lawmakers to wake up and see the ship of governance in the state sailing on smoothly.

The governor also said that his administration has started preparing details of the 2025 Appropriation Bill, prioritising education, healthcare and agriculture.

He said, “Let me assure you that agriculture is an area that we have promised the very special and peace-loving people of Rivers State that our 2025 budget, which we have already started preparing, will address. Don’t bother about those people that are delusional. They think we are still sleeping. Let me tell you people so that they can hear anywhere they are.

“I wanted to help them sincerely because I know them. And I have said it before, these are people that I have helped. I paid their children’s school fees. I paid their house rents. So, I wanted to help them.

“We all knew what happened when they crossed (defected), and how did they cross? Because of our God, for them to make that mistake, they crossed! They are gone, and they are gone. Now, let me tell you: when I wanted to help them, I accepted to help them because we are all one. We disagree to agree as it is.

“But, they thought they are smart. What is holding them back is the declaration of their seats vacant, which was done on December 13, 2023. That is what is holding them. We are not doing any budget to nullify that decision. It is what will send them to their villages.
“As I talk to you, I have started preparing my budget for 2025, which I am going to present very soon. And, in that budget, my key areas will be education, healthcare and agriculture.”

Fubara explained that the three priority areas that the 2025 budget will focus on will ensure that even if more roads will be constructed, emphasis will be placed on providing quality healthcare services to keep the people healthy.

The governor said: “Our children need to go to quality schools. Even if they can’t go to private schools, let them go to the public ones that have standard. We need to go to good health facilities owned by government and get standard healthcare services.

“Even if we cannot afford those private hospitals, when you go to the public ones, you can get the same services with qualified professionals. That is our thinking.

“And when we get to the issue of agriculture, it will address the issue of unemployment. When we start engaging our youths, they won’t have time to be involved in crime. So, our thinking is to secure and protect our state,” he added.

He reiterated that his administration is not fighting anybody and will continue to show appreciation to those who have contributed to the good fortunes he has received in life.

Fubara, however, clarified that loyalty does not mean losing one’s liberty, sense of discretion, and what is right, which is why he will not be a governor forced on his knees to oversee the affairs of the state.
The governor said, “I want to assure you that we are not fighting anybody. We appreciate what God has used people to also do in our lives. But, we will not rule (govern) this state on our bent knees. We will rule standing this way I am standing.

“If it is only being on our knees to rule, that is the way that they will see us as being loyal, then, I will pack my few things that I have here and go and relax in my house comfortably because it will be a disaster, not just to me but to everyone in the state and even my own generation.

“So, I will continue to stand tall and stand on the side of truth. So, let me thank the President General (of Ogbakor Etche) for bringing your people, the great people of Etche and Omuma together to come and pay us a solidarity visit.

“We want to assure you that we recognize all ethnic groups, and we are not here because of any particular group. We are here and standing for Rivers State. Our greatest support has come, not from my own people (Opobo), but from all of you.”

In his speech, Onyeisi Etche, Eze Emmanuel Opurum, said Etche and Omuma people will continue to give full support to Governor Fubara and ensure that his administration succeeds.
Opurum, who also said that the political crisis in Rivers State is an ill wind that will do no good to anybody, called on governors of the 36 States of the Federation to quickly summon a meeting to collectively find a lasting solution to the crisis, which should be communicated to President Bola Tinubu and eventually enforced.

For his part, the president-general of Ogbakor Etche Worldwide, Sir Charles Nwankwoala, said the Etche people, who share in Governor Fubara’s travails, joy, and many victories, came to pledge their unalloyed support, confidence, and faith in him and his administration.

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