Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
A Lawyer and stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Silas Onu, has urged the Senate President, Godswill Apkabio to officially declare the Ebonyi South senatorial seat vacant.
This, he said, will enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct election into the vacant seat.
He made the call in a letter to Mr Akpabio on Thursday.
According to him, the taking of oath of office as Minister of Works by Senator David Umahi in August rendered the senatorial zone without a senator thereby denying it of many benefits, rights and privileges.
“This letter is pursuant to section 147 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which provides thus: “Where a member of the National Assembly or a House of Assembly is appointed as Minister of the Government of the Federation, he shall be deemed to have resigned his membership of the National Assembly or of the House of Assembly on his taking the oath of Office as Minister.”
“The above provision is reinforced by section 68 (1) (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended),” he said.
He noted that based on the fact that Senator David Nweze Umahi who represented Ebonyi South in this Senate, took oath of office as Minister of the Federation on 21st of August, 2023, Ebonyi South Senate seat became vacant.
“Most Distinguished Sir, section 68 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) empowers you to give effect to such vacancy.”
He further stated that it behooves on Mr Akpabio “to give effect to this vacancy by communicating the vacancy to the Independent National Electoral Commission who in turn shall cause a bye-election to be held within 90 days as required by law.”
The former State Chairman of PDP lamented that his senatorial zone as a result has lost all benefits that should have accrued to it if it had a Senator.
“I have taken the pains of writing this letter as it appears that my Senatorial Zone has been forgotten and has not been involved in the affairs of the Nigerian Senate, being our Constitutional right, for one hundred and sixteen days (116) – this is unacceptable sir.
“Time is running out and we have certainly missed out of the current budget circle as we have no representation in the Senate to advance our interest in the said budget and other important benefits that accrue to citizens,” he said.
Mr Onu noted that there is no evidence that Mr Akpabio has given effect to the vacancy for Ebonyi South that has been in existence since August 21st 2023 either by any form of pronouncement or communication to the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“Therefore, may I plead that you, without further delay, give effect to the long existing vacancy for Ebonyi South so that the Independent National Electoral Commission can carry out its own Constitutional duty within a reasonable time as permitted by law.”
“I do believe that you are a very considerate leader of the Senate and that you will not deliberately abdicate your duty owed to the people of Ebonyi South Senatorial Zone at this critical time.
“I believe that you will act swiftly to give effect to the dictates of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
“I thank you most sincerely for your understanding and action,” he concluded.