By Haruna Salami
The Senate on Tuesday, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct election into the newly restored constituency of Nsukka South, in Enugu state and Nyamatsor state constituencies come 2023.
This was sequel to resolution on a motion on moved by Senator Chukwuka Utazi on the judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/281/2015, which was also approved at the Tuesday’s plenary.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu North), while leading the debate on the motion he brought at the plenary, said the judgement of Justice Gabriel Kolawole of the FHC Abuja, in January 2017, mandated INEC to restore the suppressed constituency.
But according to him, INEC had not honoured the court judgement, 4 years after it was given, and has not restored the constituency.
He said, “the decision of the Federal High Court Abuja on 20th January, 2017 delivered by Hon. Justice G.O. Kolawole in the case of Hon. Cosmos Agbo & 7 Ors v. INEC, suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/281/2015, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to restore the suppressed Nsukka South State Constituency, Enugu State.
“Sequel to the said decision of the Federal High Court and in compliance with the order of the court and the provision of Section 115 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, it has become necessary for the National Assembly to pass a concurrent resolution to give legislative approval for the restoration of the suppressed Nsukka South State Constituency, Enugu State”, Senator Utazi said.
Utazi added that, INEC’s delay in obeying the court order by restoring the suppressed Nsukka South Constituency, “is a serious constitutional aberration” and against the law.
This he said, has long denied the people of the area their due representation in the Enugu State House of Assembly.
Similarly, Senate urged INEC to restore Nyamatsor State constituency in Buruku Local Government Area of Benue state as a result of a motion to that effect sponsored by Senator Orker-Jef Emmanuel (Benue North West).
Orker-Jef noted that Nyamatsor State Constituency in Buruku Local Government Area existed among other State Constituencies in Benue State under the defunct Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979; and was made up of 8 Council Wards, including; Mbakyaan, Mbayaka, Mbaakura, Mbatyough, Mbaade, Mbaazagee, Etulo and Shorov.
He recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in 2004, wrote to the National Assembly for approval to restore the suppressed State Constituencies across the nation.
“Cognizant of the provisions of Section 114 (1) the 1999 Constitution for periodic review of State Constituencies which provides that the Independent National Electoral Commission shall review the division of every State into constituencies at intervals of not less than ten years, and may alter such constituencies following the provision of this section to such extent as it may consider desirable in the light of the review”.
However, the last review of State Constituencies in Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was in 1998, resulting in the suppression of Nyamatsor and 65 other State Constituencies;
Therefore, that from 1998 till date, over 22 years, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has continued to suppress the Nyamatsor State Constituency and other 65 State Constituencies across 19 States of the Federation.
According to him, this has defeated the essence of participatory democracy, which is to ensure inclusive governance to bring about a balanced development in society, but regretted that “the people of Buruku have remained excluded and under-represented as a result of this unconstitutional suppression of Nyamatsor State Constituency.
In approving the motions, the Senate also sought the concurrence of the House of Representatives, “in line with Section 115 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)”.