The Senators has on Wednesday, November 2, vowed to suspend its legislative activities, in protest over the continued delay by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to conduct rerun elections in Rivers, and Anambra States.
The resolution was reached, following a motion moved by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, during Wednesday’s plenary. It could be recalled, that sequel to the nullification of the 2015 National Assembly, and State Assembly elections in Rivers State, by the courts, INEC had been accused of deliberately refusing to conduct rerun polls, since March 19, 2016.
INEC Spokesman, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, had in a statement, hinted at conditions for the conduct of fresh elections, saying only guaranteed security for its personnel and voters, could make it conduct the exercise again. He said, “While the Commission is committed to conducting free, fair, and credible elections, it hereby reiterates its resolve not to return to Rivers State, (or anywhere else where there was a breakdown of law and order, in the course of conducting elections), until there is a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of credible elections,” INEC said, on March 25.
However, seven months after, INEC has not returned to Rivers for the rerun polls. Despite several motions moved in the floor of the Senate, urging INEC to re-schedule a new date for the elections, the electoral body seems not to be making any move. Aside Rivers elections, the Anambra Central Senatorial rerun, that was initially fixed for March 5, was indefinitely postponed by INEC, days to the polls, following a High court ruling, ordering the inclusion of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Reacting, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, (PDP Edo) said, “There is no other way we can input inhumane treatment, than what INEC is doing in Rivers.” With the motion passed, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, disclosed that the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, was duty-bound to justify his words, during his screening before the Senate.
Also reacting, Senator Dino Melaye, (APC Kogi), added an additional prayer to the motion, asking President Muhammadu Buhari, to also appoint a new Minister from Kogi State. He said, since James Ocholi died in an auto accident in March, the President has not nominated a new person from Kogi State, to replace the late junior Labour Minister, in the Federal Executive Council, FEC.