QUESTION: How long will it take Dogara to swear in Hembe’s replacement?

It is exactly two weeks since the Supreme Court sacked Herman Hembe, the lawmaker representing Konshisha/Vandekiya federal constituency of Benue State at the National Assembly, and ordered that Dorathy Mato be issued a certificate of return by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and be sworn in immediately.

But that court order is yet to be obeyed as Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House, has refused to swear Mato in for reasons best known to him. Hembe, who has had a seesaw legislative career, was a strong Dogara loyalist during his time at the lower chamber.

DESPAIR

Mato was at the National Assembly premises on Thursday, the last legislative day for the week, hoping to eventually get sworn in, but she left in apparent despair after being kept for long hours and nothing was done.

She refused to speak with journalists as she exited the premises, but one of the persons with her said they had complied with all the necessary requirements listed by the House leadership.

“We all came in anticipation of this swearing-in and they kept us waiting and dilly-dallying; at the end of it they said ‘wait we are in plenary session,”said Mati Acka, a member of the Benue State House of Assembly who accompanied Mato to the National Assembly complex.

“We all waited patiently, only for them to come out and nothing happened and we are wondering. Papers and things need to be filed and things need to be done; she has done everything that is required to have been done. I just pray and hope that this is not some kind of a game because it will not be right.”

She suggested that Mato was being persecuted because she is a woman.

“This issue of gender equality, empowerment and all of that, you intimidate us, we swim, we manage to swim across. When we swim, we get victory at the court, you now want to shove us back to drown.

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“She was manipulated out of the election, just as I was by this same person whom God gave victory against him. I’m rejoicing with her and the women, and they are truncating our victory. There is no tangible reason that has been given.”

‘CERTAIN PROCESSES’ TO UNDERGO

However, Abdulrazak Namdas, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, said the delay in swearing Mato in was to ensure that she complied with all due process.

“I’m not aware it has been done, I have to look at it and I can tell you that if all the right processes have been fulfilled, I don’t think there is any reason that she will not be sworn in”.

“But the truth is that as far as I’m concerned there are certain processes that if there is any pronouncements by the court, they are also some processes you have to undergo in the house before you are sworn in.”

NO WORD FROM DOGARA




     

     

    When ICIR contacted Turaki Hassan, the Chief Press Secretary to Speaker Dogara, he said he was in a noisy place and could not comment. He asked this reporter to send him a text message; this was done but he did not reply.

    Meanwhile, the judgement from the court is for Hembe to “immediately” vacate the seat for Mato, whose success did not come on a platter of gold.

    With Mato still not sworn in, it is likely that Hembe still hasn’t returned all the money he earned in the position, which by the ICIR’s calculation, is approximately N198.5million.

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