Legal Nigeria

Rivers N800bn budget caught in web of lawmakers’ defection confusion

There is a cloud of political uncertainty and confusion about which of the faction of lawmakers will deliberate and approve the 2024 budget estimate of N800billion approved by the Rivers State Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Siminalayi Fubara on Monday.

This followed the defection of 27 lawmakers loyal to Nyesom Wike, Fubara’s predecessor and Minister of Federal Capital Territory, from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state to the All Progressives Congress APC, the same day the budget estimate was approved.

The 27 Martin Amaewhule led lawmakers elected on the platform of PDP had defected to the APC, citing division within their former party as the reason for abandoning it.

Four lawmakers in the state Assembly led by Edison Ehie are however still in the PDP and are considered loyalists of Governor Fubara.

The question confronting analysts in the state now is, Will the “Budget of Renewed Hope, Consolidation and Continuity” be presented to 27 APC Lawmakers or four PDP Lawmakers?

In a statement, Boniface Onyedi,  spokesperson to Governor Fubara  said State Executive Council deliberated and approved an estimated budget spending of N800bn for the State government in 2024 fiscal year.

The executive Council also approved that the estimated budget be christened, “Budget of Renewed Hope, Consolidation and Continuity.”

Fubara presided over the meeting that held at the Executive Chambers of Government House in Port Harcourt.

Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson addressed newsmen after the meeting. He said about N412bn was approved as projected sum for capital expenditure while recurrent expenditure is getting N361bn.

“We had the 5th council meeting of Rivers State. We deliberated on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, which is usually a precursor to discussing the budget.

“An 83 page document was also presented, which has the budget estimate. The budget estimate for 2024 is N800bn, and it is tagged: “Budget of Renewed Hope, Consolidation and Continuity.

The Information Commissioner said further: “essentially, the budget is focused on some key areas with infrastructure taking the lead with N128bn of the budget followed by Education, Health and Security.”

Also speaking, the Secretary to the Rivers State Government (SSG), Tammy Danagogo said the estimated budget was approved in support of governor Fubara to giving Rivers people renewed hope that will guarantee continual harvest of projects and human capital development.

“We approved an estimated budget of N800,392,485,433kobo, which we believe, by the time it gets to the state House of assembly, the public will be made to see and understand all the projections and fundamentals.

“Basically, the essence of the budget is to give the people and residents of the Rivers State the Renewed Hope and to ensure that there is a consolidation and continuity in what has been happening in terms of the harvest of projects we have been having in the State, and of course other areas, particularly in human capital development, security, investment drive in the State and ease of doing business.”

credit: PM News