Nigeria’s House of Representatives has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct all pending rerun of elections into legislative positions in Rivers and Anambra states.
The order came on the back of a unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance sponsored by the Minority Leader Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta), and five others.
INEC has denied people their right – Ogor
Moving the motion, Ogor said that INEC’s failure to conduct rerun of elections in the two states had denied the people their constitutionally guaranteed right to representation at the National and State Houses of Assembly.
“And by extension led to a denial of the peoples’ right to participate in critical national issues that have come for deliberation including national appropriations,’’ he said.
Ogor further stated that the electoral umpire’s action violates section 48 of 1999 constitution which provides that the Senate shall consist of three senators from each state and one from the FCT.
“It also violates section 49 which provides that the House of Representatives shall consist of 360 members representing constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible.
“The above constitutional provisions are mandatory, thus failure to comply with any of them is unconstitutional.
“The Court of Appeal in December 2015, ordered that re-run elections be conducted within 60 days but INEC has consistently refused to do so.
He said that apart from the elections conducted by INEC on March 19, 2016 in only four out of 12 federal and few state constituencies, there was no elections in other places.
“While almost all states are adequately represented in the parliament, Rivers continues to be unrepresented due to INEC’s deliberate neglect and refusal to conduct outstanding elections in the state.’’
Decision taken to safeguard democracy – Gbajabiamila
In his contribution, Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos) said the call became necessary in view of the need to safeguard the country’s democracy.
“This country is underrepresented and there are obvious shortcomings in the constituencies where the elections are not concluded,’’ Gbajabiamila said.
The Speaker Yakubu Dogara referred the motion to House Committee on Legislative Compliance and Electoral Matters.
He charged the committees to ensure that INEC concludes elections in Rivers and other states where elections are not concluded.
The committees were mandated to revert to the House within two weeks with a confirmed date for the elections.