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Senate Gives INEC December 10 As Deadline To Conduct Rivers National, State Assembly Elections

riversinec

Ayodele Afolabi

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Senate has vowed to suspend plenary session after 10th of December this year, if the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), failed to conduct all pending elections in Rivers State cutting across National and State Assembly.

To this effect, it directed INEC to ensure that it conduct pending elections into the Senate, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly unfailingly by Saturday, the 10th day of December, 2016.

These were fallouts of a motion jointly moved to that effect by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Senate Leader, Ali Ndume.

Ekweremadu in the motion entitled: “Non –Conduct of Elections in Rivers State”, argued that in spite of Senate’s resolution (S/Res/O16/02/16) of 27th of September 2016, calling on lNEC to immediately conclude all pending re-run elections in the country, the commission failed in carrying out the order particularly in Rivers state.

He said failure of the commission to conduct the elections within the time frame ordered by the respective Election Petition Tribunals/Courts is in breach of the Electoral Act and Section 76 of the 1999 Constitution, thus endangering the nation’s democracy.

According to him, “ non-representation of the entire people of Rivers State in the Senate and some constituencies of Rivers State in the House of Representatives and State House of Assembly is in breach of Section 14 (2) (c) of the 1999 Constitution, and endangers peace and order in the State.

“Failure of lNEC to conduct election in Rivers State has continued to deny the people of Rivers State their constitutionally guaranteed rights to be represented in the legislative Houses, where laws affecting them are being made, and has engendered palpable anxiety amongst people of the State”.

He wondered why the same lNEC that successfully conducted elections in the North East of Nigeria, especially in the areas around Sambisa Forest acknowledged worldwide to be ravaged by terrorist activities, is finding it difficult to conduct same in Rivers state since last year when Appeal courts made the legislative seats vacant.

He added that elections were held in Bayelsa and Edo States despite security challenges.

Senator Ndume in his own contribution condemned the new leadership of INEC for the untidy arrangement on ground in getting needed elections conducted at the right time and at once.

“Since the assumption of office of the incumbent INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmud, it has been cases of inconclusive upon inconclusive and suspension of elections with attendant confusions.

“It is inexcusable for the commission not to have conducted the Rivers election up till now, a situation that is making the Senate not to have a single Senator from Rivers State at a time debate on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), is about to commence”, he said.

Virtually all the Senators who contributed supported the motion, the template upon which Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) brought in the issue of non-representation of Kogi State in the Federal Executive Ccouncil (FEC) since the death of the late Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Bar. James Ocholi in March this year.

Consequently the Senate through an additional prayer, added filling of the Kogi State vacuum in FEC by the President latest by December 10th this year as part of its resolutions.

In his remarks after the resolutions, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, urged both INEC and the President to do the needful within the time frame given, since the country according to him, practices representative democracy.

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