By Segun Odeleye
Rivers state witnessed an unprecedented event on Tuesday when the state assembly passed into law the 2014 budget presented before to it by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi just one hour after it was presented by the governor.
Due to the fact that the state assembly has been under lock and key for several months, the lawmakers sat at the Old Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Port Harcourt.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has however described the presentation of the 2014 budget by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as illegal and vowed to use all legal means to challenge the presentation.
Amaechi had earlier in the day presented a budget proposal of N485.52billion for government services in 2014 to the sitting of the State House of Assembly, that was attended by no fewer than 24 lawmakers, mostly those loyal to the governor.
The House, presided over by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Daniel Amachree passed the budget into law through voice vote, less than one hour after it was presented to them by the governor, who was accompanied by his deputy, Mr Tele Ikuru and other top government functionaries.
The budget which was N4.797bn less than that of 2013, comprised of N247.57billion or 75.88 per cent as capital expenditure while recurrent expenditure got N237.95billion or 24.12 per cent of the budget.
“The focus of the budget will be on completing ongoing projects in health, education, roads, transport, power, water, agriculture, and other critical infrastructure. The 2014 budget is formulated to achieve the agenda of this administration with the overall objective of prospering the state and promoting the well being of the people.”
But speaking to journalists in Port Harcourt shortly after Amaechi presented the budget before the House, the state chairman of the PDP, Chief Felix Amaechi Obuah described the presentation as an illegality that will not stand.
Obuah said; “The attention of the Rivers State PDP has been drawn to the illegal presentation of 2014 budget at Government House, Port Harcourt, right inside Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi’s office, outside the hallowed chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“The PDP describes the action to present the 2014 budget outside the hallowed chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly, as illegal criminal and of no effect. The PDP assures Rivers people and indeed the generality of Nigerians, the illegality cannot be allowed to stay in Rivers State.
“Therefore, the illegal budget presentation at Government House today cannot stand the test of time. Governor Amaechi is creating a lot of criminal records; this is the first time in the history of our dear Rivers State, where we have witnessed this level of rascality and illegality. We have not seen a state government force a state House of Assembly to accept a budget presentation outside the hallowed chambers of the House of Assembly.”