Benin – Edo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to as a matter of urgency conduct bye-elections into the 14 seats of the members-elected declared vacant by the Speaker of the House, Mr Frank Okiye.
The declaration of the seats vacant by the Speaker who explained that the action was taken following their absence from plenary for 180 days is now a subject of litigation as the 14 members-elect are challenging the order.
Dr Tony Aziegbemi, Edo State chairman of the PDP, while calling on INEC to conduct the bye-election, said the members-elect shot themselves in their feet when they were failed from being inaugurated and started holding illegal meetings.
Aziegbemi who spoke to Independent in an interview declared, ” Note that 24 members of the House of Assembly were elected and the 14 members – elect were supposed to have gone for their inauguration on a particular day. They did not that.
“They got themselves into private cocoons and were holding illegal meetings. The 1999 Constitution as (amended) and the Electoral Act makes it very clear that once a member fails to attend sittings for 180 days, his seat can be declared vacant by the Presiding Officer.
“So, the Presiding Officer, Mr. Frank Okiye was right to have declared their seats vacant. As ruling party, we stand with the decision of the Speaker in the declaration of their seats vacant.
“And we called on INEC to conduct a bye- election into the 14 seats declared vacant. There is no reason in the world why INEC should not conduct a bye- election into those seats.
“I am using this opportunity to call on INEC to do the needful now by accepting the declaration of those seats vacant by the Presiding Officer of the Edo State House of Assembly”.