Fubara: We’ve Started Process of Preparing 2025 Budget

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Amidst the political crisis in Rivers State with legal  many suits challenging actions of parties involved in the battle, the state Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, said his administration has started the process of preparing the 2025 budget.

 He insisted that the legislative seats of Martin Amaewhule and the 26 lawmakers that were declared vacant on December 13, 2023, by High Court in the state will remain so.

 The governor stated that the defected lawmakers decided to allegedly give up their seats when they defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the platform on which they won their election, to the All Progressives Congress (APC) voluntarily.

 Governor Fubara made the assertion yesterday, when he received on solidarity visit the leadership structure, critical stakeholders, opinion leaders, women and youths of Etche and Omuma Local Government Areas led by Ogbakor Etche, at Government House in Port Harcourt.

Governor Fubara  said that his administration has started preparing details of the 2025 Appropriation Bill, with priority placed on 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 said.”

 Governor Fubara added: “But, they thought they are smart. What is holding them is the declaration of their seats vacant that 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. 

“For me, as I am talking 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.” 

 Governor 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.

“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 wouldn’t have time to be involved in crime. So, our thinking is to secure and protect our State,” he added.

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

 The Governor, however, clarified that in being loyal, it 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 stair the affairs of the state.

 He added: “I want to assure you one thing: we are not fighting anybody. We appreciate what God has used people to also do in our lives. But, we are not going to 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.”

 Governor Fubara urged the people of Etche Nation to sustain their support for his administration because its vision is clear and encompassing to advance the well-being of all Rivers people.

 The governor said as stated in the national anthem, he is determined to establish a climate (State) where every man should be free of oppression, and freely pursue their aspirations.

 Governor Fubara, in responding to the requests of the people, said his administration is working with the Nigeria Police in finding lasting solutions to the hydra-headed issue of herdsmen attacks on farmlands and farmers in the area while urging them to continue to provide vital information of strange people and their operations to the relevant authorities.

 The governor also promised to address the issue of illegal dredging activities in the area, and undertake reconstruction work on priority areas, including roads, schools and health facilities, just as he announced the donation of N50 million to Ogbakor Etche Worldwide for the smooth running of the organisation. 

Earlier his speech, leader of Etche, Eze Emmanuel Opurum, said Etche and Omuma people will continue to give full support to Governor Fubara and ensure that his administration succeeds.

On his part, the President General of Ogbakor Etche Worldwide, Charles Nwonuala, said the Etche people, who share in the travails, joy and the many victories of Governor Fubara, came to pledge their unalloyed support, confidence and faith in him and his administration.

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