Sunday, May 9, 2021

Kogi Assembly declares ex-speaker’s seat vacant over defection to PDP


Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a 30-year-old graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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The Kogi State House of Assembly on Tuesday declared the seat of the immediate past speaker of the house and the member representing Lokoja I state constituency, Ahmed Imam, vacant.

The seat was declared vacant following the defection of the former speaker from the All Progressives Congress, APC.

The house at its resumed sitting and presided over by the speaker, Matthew Kolawole, said it would write to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Imam has already written the assembly informing it of his defection citing the crisis in the APC, while the state chairman of APC, Abdullahi Bello, also wrote the house to declare the seat vacant since he was no longer a member of the ruling party.

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Moving the motion for the declaration of the seat vacant, the majority leader, Hassan Abdulahi, urged the assembly to declare Imam’s seat vacant.

Seconding the motion, the deputy majority leader, Ahmed Muhammed, representing Ankpa I state constituency, the motion was timely as there was no basis for the defection.

However, a former the speaker of the house, Momohjimoh Lawal, from Okene II state constituency, disagreed with the letter of the APC and the motion moved by the majority leader.

He said, “I disagree with the APC and this motion to declare the seat of our colleague vacant. We are all aware that, at the national level, there is Reform APC which shows that there is the crisis in the ruling party. Only the court of law can declare the seat of any member vacant. Mr Speaker, you are a beneficiary of this defection. So why was your seat not declared vacant”.

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The member representing Yagba west state constituency, Oluwatoyin Lawal, also spoke against the declaration of the seat vacant.

Another member, Momoh Rabiu, representing Ankpa II, urged the house to tread with caution, saying they were lawmakers and not lawbreakers.

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“Declaring the seat of the former speaker vacant is of no use to the members. I, therefore, distanced my self from this motion “he noted.

In his summation, the speaker of the house Mathew Kolawole who noted that he is on the side of the law on the matter before the house directed the Clerk to convey the resolution of the assembly to INEC.

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However with newsmen after the sitting, Kokawole said the decision of the house was based on the provisions of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, which empowered the speaker to declare such seat vacant.

He said the excuses given by Imam for his defection were personal and not based on any crisis or division within the APC.

Kolawole said the sitting was attended by 22 members and 13 of them supported the decision to declare the seat vacant.


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