The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Edo State has threatened to drag the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to court if its candidates who were candidates for seats recently declared vacant in the House of Assembly are not given the certificates of return to occupy the seats.
The party in a petition to INEC backed by nine of the candidates who partook in the election said that it would be unnecessary to conduct fresh elections into the seats given that there were runners-up in the election.
According to the party since those who were declared winners rejected the seats it was incumbent on the electoral authorities to replace them with the runners up who were all from the PDP.
The All Progressives Congress, APC was declared winner of all 24 seats in the House of Assembly but 12 members of the party siding with the national chairman of the party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole refused to present themselves for inauguration.
There seats were eventually declared vacant by Speaker Frank Okiye who recently wrote INEC to conduct fresh elections into the seats.
However, countering, the Speaker, the PDP said that its candidates who were runners-up in the 12 constituencies should be automatically inaugurated on the basis of Doctrine of Necessity.
The letter read thus:
Letter reproduced below:
Our Ref: D13/AA/CR/074/19
Date: 17th December, 2019
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Plot 436, Zambezi Crescent
AN IMPERATIVE CALL FOR YOUR SWIFT INTERVENTION WITH RESPECT TO SOME OF THE MEMBERS-ELECT WHO HAVE ABDICATED THEIR OFFICE IN THE EDO STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY AND AS A RESULT, THEIR CONSTITUENCIES DECLARED VACANT BY THE SPEAKER
We act as Solicitors to the PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY (PDP) and some of its CANDIDATES for the 9th day of March, 2019 Edo State House of Assembly Constituencies election, i.e. (1). Zubairu Dada Abubakar, Etsako West Constituency I, (2). Barr. Ekoh Okoyomo Innocent, Esan Central Constituency, (3). Barr. Afebu Aigbonoga, Etsako West Constituency II, (4). Jimmy Osagiede Esq., Egor Constituency, (5). Nosa Victor Omoregie, OviaNorth East Constituency I, (6). Ibizugbe Stephen Osayomwanbor, Ovia North East Constituency II, (7). Veadams Ezekiel Ighodaro, UhunmwodeConstituency, (8). Eghosa Asemota Agbonifo, Oredo West Constiyuency II, and (9). Godwin Adenomo, Ovia South West (hereinafter referred to as ‘our Client’) and on whose definite instructions and behalf we write.
BRIEF FACTS NECESSITATING THIS LETTER.
We have the understanding that our Client were nominated as the Candidates of their political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in their various Constituencies to Contest for their Constituency’s seats in the Edo
State House of Assembly in the Election held on the 9th day of March, 2019. Consequent upon that, the Candidates of the All Progressive Party (APC) with respect of the above stated constituencies were declared winners of the election, certificates of returns were issued to them by your Commission in order for them to be qualified to be inaugurated as members of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly.
We further have the understanding that, as expected, the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki issued a Proclamation in line with the provision of Section 105 (3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) on the 14th day of June, 2019 and the date of the inauguration was given therein as 17th day of June, 2019 and all Members-elects were dully notified of the development by the Clerk of the Edo State House of Assembly. The Certified True Copy of the said Proclamation is hereto attached as annexure “A” for your ease of reference.
We further have the understanding that pursuant to the Proclamation issued by the Governor, the Edo State House of Assembly was inaugurated on the 17th day of June, 2019 with Nine (9) Members-elect presented themselves for inauguration and subscribed to their Oath of Membership/Allegiance. The members are:
|2.||ASORO, Osadebamwen Roland||Orhionmwon II|
|3.||EKHOSUEHI, Uyiosasere||Oredo East|
|4.||IDIAYE, Yekini Oisayemoje||Akoko Edo I|
|5.||OKAKA, Eric||Owan East|
|6.||OKHUAROBO, Henry ||Ikpoba Okha|
|7.||OKIYE, Francis Abumere||Esan North East I|
|8.||OKUNBOR, Nosayaba ||Orhionmwon I|
|9.||ONOBUN, Marcus Iziegbeaya||Esan West|
It is pertinent to state that Mr. OKIYE, Francis Abunere emerged as the Speaker of the House of Assembly while IDIAYE, Yekini Oisayemoje also emerged the Deputy Speaker. The other Fifteen (15) Members-elect as declared by your commission were absent from the inauguration ceremony on the said date without any justification/excuse whatsoever. The Certified True Copies of the Votes and Proceedings of the Edo State House of Assembly of 17th June, 2019 is hereto attached as Annexure “B” for your ease of reference.
We further have the understanding that on the 24th day of June, 2019,OJIEZELE, Osezua, Esan South East and OKODUWA, Emma Ewah, Esan North East II while on the 3rd day of July, 2019 AGBAJE, Emmanuel Omoladun, Akoko Edo II presented themselves for inauguration and Oath of Membership/Allegiance was accordingly administered to them. Putting the numbers of Members-elect who refused/neglected to be inaugurated or subscribe to Oath of Membership/Allegiance at Twelve (12). The Certified True Copies of the Votes and Proceedings of the Edo State House of Assembly of 24th June, 2019 and 3rd July, 2019 are hereto attached as Annexure “B1” and “B2” respectively for your ease of reference.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT ON THE PROPRIETY OR OTHERWISE OF THE ISSUANCE OF SECOND PROCLAMATION LETTER
We further have the understanding that an action was instituted in the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Port Harcourt Judicial Division, suit No. FCH/PH/CS/159/19 by Hon. Yekini O. Idiaye (Deputy Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly) and Henry Okhuarobo (Member, representing Ikpoba Okha Constituency) via an originating summons filed on the 25th day of July, 2019.
We further have the understanding that argument was taken on the issues raise in the said suit and judgment was delivered in favour of the Plaintiffs on the 12th day of September, 2019 by His Lordship, Hon. Justice J.K. Omotosho, wherein the court held amongst others, that the Proclamation issued by the 6th Defendant (the Governor of Edo State) on the 14th day of June, 2019 is valid and remain so until its expiration. The Certified True Copy of the said Judgment is hereto attached as annexure “C” for your ease of reference
It is pertinent to mention that ever since the above referred judgment was delivered, it has not be appealed against by any of the Defendants or any other interested party in the matter.
THE SPEAKER’S DECLARATION OF TWO SEATS AND TEN CONSTITUENCIES VACANT
We are of the belief that notice of the votes and proceeding of the Edo State House of Assembly sitting of 4th December, 2019 have been communicated to you. However, for the purpose of emphasis may we humbly restate that the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, in exercise of the power confirmed on him by the provisions of Section 109 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) declared two (2) seats of Members who took the Oath of Membership/Allegiance and later abdicated their seat without any lawful and justifiable cause vacant.
In the same vein, he also declared that, Twelve (12) Constituency seats are vacant as members-elect have refused/neglected to present themselves for inauguration and the subscription of Oath of Membership/Allegiance, the House having sat for the First Session and First Quarters without them and call for a bye election in the affected Constituencies. In the circumstance, the only inference that can be drawn from their action/inaction in this regard is that they have abdicated their mandates WITHOUT JUST CAUSE.
The declared Twelve (12) vacant constituencies are:
|1.||Etsako West Constituency I|
|2.||Esan Central Constituency|
|3.||Etsako West Constituency II|
|5.||Ovia North East Constituency I|
|6||Ovia North East Constituency II|
|8.||Oredo West Constiyuency II|
|9.||Etsako East Constituency|
|10.||Etsako Central Constituency|
|11.||Ovia South West|
OUR CLENTS’ STAND ON THE CONSTITUENCIES THAT HAVE BEENDECLARED VACANT AND THEIR DEMAND
We have the authority of our Clients to communicate their stand/demand on the issues with respect to the constituencies that have been declared vacant by the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly as follows: a. That the refusal/neglect by members-elect to subscribe to the Oath of Membership/Allegiance with respect to the affected constituencies throughout the First Session and First Quarters of the 7th Assembly of Edo State amounts to abdication of office. b. That the appropriate thing the commission should do in the circumstance is to withdraw the affected members’ certificate of return having failed/neglected to seat in the House they were elected and their constituency having been declared vacant by the Speaker in exercise of his power as vested by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by which act, the affected members-elect can no longer be inaugurated. c. That sequel to the declaration of the affected Constituencies vacant by the Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, your commission should not in the interest of Justice and Equity, conduct any fresh elections into the affected constituencies as the affected Members-elect did not subscribed to the Oath of Membership/Allegiance and abdicated their responsibilities. As such, state resources should not be wasted in conducting fresh Elections where there are 1stRunners up in the concluded elections. d. That certificate of return should be issued to our Clients as the 1stRunner up in their various Constituencies, since the members-elect who abdicated their position did not subscribe to the Oath of Membership/Allegiance before their Constituencies were declared vacant by the Speaker in the interest of Justice and Equity. e. That we most humbly implore you to liken this case to that of Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan. Since there is a lacuna in the Constitution, as to what is to be resorted to, when a person having been declared a winner in an election but failed/neglected to subscribe to the Oath of Membership/Allegiance and consequence upon which, his seat/constituency declared vacant by the Speaker, the Doctrine of Necessity should be invoked to issue certificate of return to the 1st Runner up in the election in order to save their constituencies from undue suffering and neglect having performed their civic responsibility of voting only to be denied the dividend of democracy. f. We are by this letter demanding/requesting you and your Commission (INEC), to use your good offices to issue to our Clients, Certificate of Return within the next 7 days of the receipt of this letter.
N.B: That failure to accede to request in the interest of Justice and Equity as clearly communicated by this letter within the time limited above, we shall be left with no other option than to carry-out the full instructions of our Clients by instituting an action in court of law.
We look forward to hearing from you within the next 7 days.
Be assured of our office best regards always
Chikaodinaka Adindu Esq.
Cc: 1. The Resident Electoral Commissioner
Independent National Electoral Commission
Ikpoba Hill, By Ramat Park
Edo State. 2. The National Chairman
Peoples Democratic Party
Plot 1970, Micheal Okpara Street
Wuse Zone 5,