The House of Representatives on Tuesday in Abuja urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct all pending re-run elections into legislative positions in Rivers and Anambra.
This followed the unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance sponsored by the House Minority Leader, Rep. Leo Ogor (PDP-Delta) and five others.
Moving the motion, Ogor said that INEC’s inability to conduct re-run elections in the two states had denied the people their constitutionally guaranteed right to representation at the National and State Houses of Assembly.
“And by extension led to a denial of the peoples’ right to participate in critical national issues that have come for deliberation including national appropriations,’’ he said.
According to Ogor, INEC’s failure to conduct the elections violates section 48 of 1999 constitution which provides that the Senate shall consist of three senators from each state and one from the FCT.
“It also violates section 49 which provides that the House of Representatives shall consist of 360 members representing constituencies of nearly equal population as far as possible.
“The above constitutional provisions are mandatory, thus failure to comply with any of them is unconstitutional.
“The Court of Appeal in December 2015, ordered that re-run elections be conducted within 60 days but INEC has consistently refused to do so.
He said that apart from the elections conducted by INEC on March 19, 2016 in only four out of 12 federal and few state constituencies, there was no elections in other places.
“While almost all states are adequately represented in the parliament, Rivers continues to be unrepresented due to INEC’s deliberate neglect and refusal to conduct outstanding elections in the state.’’
Contributing to the debate, the House Majority Leader, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC-Lagos) said the call became necessary in view of the need to safeguard the country’s democracy.
“This country is underrepresented and there are obvious shortcomings in the constituencies where the elections are not concluded,’’ Gbajabiamila said.
Ruling on the matter, Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara referred the motion to House Committee on Legislative Compliance and Electoral Matters.
According to him, the committees will ensure that INEC concludes elections in Rivers and other states where elections are not concluded.
The committees were mandated to revert to the House within two weeks with a confirmed date for the elections.