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Edo Speaker Declares Defected Lawmaker’s Seat Vacant
From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Uyigue Igbe, on Wednesday declared vacant the seat of the member representing Estako West 1 constituency, Abdulrasaq Momoh, for defecting from the All Progressive Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Momoh is one of the five lawmakers of the APC who defected to the PDP about two months ago but while the others have since been suspended, he only got his seat declared vacant on Wednesday.
Drawing powers from Section 109 (1g) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, Igbe while making the pronouncement noted that Momoh had defected to the PDP without recourse to due process, adding that the law empowers him to declare the seat of a lawmaker vacant upon defection to another party from the party through which he was elected.
He, therefore, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to fill the vacant position within a space of 90 days.
In his reaction, Momoh said the declaration of his seat as vacant was null and void, citing that there was a subsisting court order stopping the House from carrying out any action against the five members who defected to the PDP.
He said the Speaker’s action was taken to truncate the legal action he instituted against the APC legislators for forging his signature.
“To start with, there is a subsisting court order stopping the House from declaring seats vacant, suspending and stopping the remuneration of the defected law makers, and the court restrained them from suspending and declaring my seat vacant. It’s already a known fact that they don’t obey court orders,” he said.
He added that what the APC legislators did at the old Assembly chamber in Government House where they have been seating was null and void because the Government House was not the designated place for legislative business.