The decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct bye-election for Sabon-Gari Constituency in the Kaduna State of Assembly has sparked fears in members-elect of Edo Assembly.
INEC had in a statement on Friday said it will conduct the bye-election for the Kaduna Constituency on 19 June 2021, as a result of the absence of the lawmaker representing the area from legislative activities.
“The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has received a communication from the Kaduna State House of Assembly which declared the seat of the Member representing Sabon Gari State Constituency, Hon. Aminu Abdullahi Shagali, vacant.
“According to the State Assembly, the vacancy occurred as a result of the Hon Member’s absence without just cause from one-third of the meetings of the Assembly for one year in contravention of Section 109 (1)[f] and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” the statement issued by INEC spokesman Festus Okoye, said.
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A source told PlatinumPost that the move by INEC to conduct bye-election for the Kaduna seat would be replicated in Edo to replace the about 14 seats that have been vacant for almost two years.
The source, who craved anonymity said the electoral commission has put mechanism in place to address the various legal issues before announcing the date for the Edo Assembly’s bye-election.
PlatinumPost reports that the seats of 12 members-elect of the Edo State House of Assembly were declared vacant by the leadership of the Parliament in December 2019 following their refusal to be inaugurated.
The affected lawmakers-elect, all members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and strong loyalists of former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, had challenged the mode the Assembly was inaugurated at night, calling on the governor to issue a fresh proclamation letter.
The move by the members-elect not to show up for inauguration after several invitations, prompted the then Speaker of the House, Frank Okiye, to declare the seats vacant.
The seats declared vacant also included those of two others who did not meet the mandatory sitting requirement to continue as members of the House.
The affected 12 members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae- Ovia North-East 2; Ugiagbe Dumez -Ovia North-East 1; Washington Osifo-Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror-Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi- Etsako East; and Michael Ohio-Ezomo Owan West.
Others are Sunday Aghedo-Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben-Oredo West; Crosby Eribo-Egor: Aliyu Oshiomhole-Etsako West 2; Oshomah Ahmed -Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu-Etsako West 1.
The Assembly after declaring the seats vacant called on INEC to conduct bye-elections for the affected constituencies within 90 days, but INEC had ignored the call, saying its decision was based on court cases instituted by the affected lawmakers-elect.