Saraki, exegashegara decline to speak on vacant seats of late lawcreaters
– A top INEC official says the commission cannot conduct by-elections in some constituencies until leaders of the National Assembly officially inform it of the deaths of lawmakers in those constituencies
– Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, declines to speak on the issue
– NASS says President Buhari must be held accountable for the actions of his appointees
The leadership of the Senate and that of the House of Representatives are yet to speak on why the seats of some legislators who died months ago have not been declared vacant.
Daily Trust reports that the seats of Senator Malam Ali Wakili (APC, Bauchi), Senator Bukar Mustapha (APC, Katsina) and Rep Buba Jibril (APC, Kogi) have not been declared vacant to enable the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) organise by-elections.
A top INEC official told the newspaper that the commission cannot conduct by-elections in the three constituencies until leaders of the National Assembly officially inform it of the deaths.
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“There is provision in the 1999 Constitution that speaks about vacancies in the legislature and what should be done. Similarly, the Electoral Act 2010 as amended clearly states that INEC can only organise by-elections to fill such vacancies after receiving letters from presiding officers of the National Assembly,” the official said.
He said though the scenarios were different, there was a time some leaders of a certain political party approached INEC ahead of an election with some names for replacement on the ground that those that won the primaries died in an accident only for the actual flag bearers to appear at the commission saying they never had an accident.
“This is how desperate politicians can go. So, communication is very important; we know senators Wakili, Bukar and Rep Buba have died and we saw how the two chambers paid glowing tribute to them but that is not a formal communication for us to do anything. We would keep waiting and this has nothing to do with 90 days expiring,” he noted.
When approached for comment on Tuesday, June 5, the Senate spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi declined to speak.
He simply said: “If it is this matter, I have no comment on it please.”
A source in the management of the National Assembly said they were awaiting the directive of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to act.