By; JOSHUA I. EGBODO, Abuja.
The House of Representatives has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to in the nearest possible time, conduct the postponed re-run polls, especially those that affected Anambra and Rivers States.
Some members of the House; Leo Ogor, Kingsley Chinda, Betty Apiafi, Ken Chikere, Blessing Nsiegbe and Uche Nnam Obi, in a jointly sponsored motion under matters of urgent public importance, said the call if heeded would safeguard the nation’s democracy.
The House has also directed its committees on Legislative Compliance and Electoral Matters to monitor implementation of the resolution with a view to ensuring that that its earlier resolution of 23rd June, 2016 is complied with, and that INEC concludes all elections in Rivers State, and to within two weeks, reports back with confirmed dates fixed for the re-run polls.
Making references sections 48 and 49 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Ogor who moved the motion on behalf of his colleagues said the laws made it mandatory for the affected areas to be duly represented, and sofailure to comply with any of the laws remained unconstitutional, adding that in the case of Rivers State, the Court of Appeal had in December 2015, ordered that re-run elections be conducted within 60 days which was not fully complied with.
“INEC has since consistently failed, neglected and or refused to do so; apart from the one it conducted on March 19, 2016 in only four out of the 12 federal and few state constituencies that re-run elections were ordered in December 2015”, the sponsors argued.
In his contribution, Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila said the call became necessary in view of the need to preserve our democracy. “This country is underrepresented and there are obvious shortcomings in the constituencies where the elections are not concluded,’’ he submitted.
It is expected that the two committees would follow up the matter, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara referred the matter to them, to ensure INEC concludes elections in Rivers and other states where such elections have not been concluded.