Senate Okays Restoration of Ethiope West Constituency in Delta Assembly

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Ovie Omo-Agege

By Deji Elumoye

The Senate yesterday approved the restoration of Ethiope West state constituency (1) in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State from the present Ethiope West state constituency.

This was sequel to the adoption of a motion moved by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, at plenary.

The development came two months after the upper chamber also approved the restoration of Abraka state constituency in Ethiope East Local Government Area from the present Ethiope East state constituency. In his lead debate, the Delta Central senator urged the upper legislative chamber to approve the restoration of the constituency in compliance with the declarations and orders of the Federal High Court and Section 115 of the 1999 Constitution.

Omo-Agege noted that persistent agitations by concerned leaders, electorate and stakeholders in the constituency led to legal action at the Federal High Court inWarri with Suit No: FHC/WR/CS/21/2015.

According to him, in a judgement delivered by Hon. Justice M. Shitu Abubakar on March 25, 2015, the Federal High Court in Warri upheld the arguments of the representatives of the electorate, stakeholders and people of Ethiope West state constituency (1), granted their reliefs declaring that “the Delta State House Assembly as it currently stands is not properly constituted in line with the provisions of Sections 6, 36, 91 and 112 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to restore Ethiope West constituency (1) as a state constituency with an elected member in the state House of Assembly.”

He lamented that six years after, the electoral umpire has yet to comply with the decision.

According to the Deputy Senate president, “The Senate Observes that Ethiope West state constituency (1) consisting of Jesse Ward I, Jesse Ward 11, Jesse Ward III, Jesse Ward IV, Mosogar Ward I and Mosogar Ward II, and which satisfies the requirements of Section 113 of the 1999 Constitution (as altered) and justifies its creation and approval by the National Assembly.

“Worried that despite Ethiope West state constituency (1) being a duly created and approved state constituency by the National Assembly pursuant to the provisions of the constitution, the INEC willfully, negligently, unlawfully or arbitrarily omitted or removed this state constituency (1) with code No: SC/11/DT from the ‘Approved List of State Constituencies previously Suppressed’ addressed to the Clerk of National Assembly on June 2, 2004.

“I am concerned that this singular willful, negligent, unlawful or arbitrary act by INEC has created a real and continuous political suppression and oppression of the electorate, stakeholders and the good people of Ethiope West state constituency (1).

“Cognizant that to stop the continuing suppression of their constitutionally guaranteed right to proper parliamentary representation, representatives of the electorate, stakeholders and the good people of Ethiope West state constituency (1) lawfully took their grievances to the Federal High Court in Warri and challenged the actions of INEC in suit No: FHC/WR/CS/21/2015 for omitting/removing their constituency from the ‘Approved List of State Constituencies previously suppressed’, which was addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly on June 2 2004.

“In the judgment, the Federal High Court unequivocally declared that the Delta State House Assembly as it currently stands is not properly constituted in line with the provisions of Sections 6, 36, 91 and 112 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and ordered INEC to restore Ethiope West constituency (1) as a state constituency with an elected member in the state House of Assembly.

“Furthermore, the Federal High Court also declared that INEC does not have the discretion or power whatsoever to suppress the existing Ethiope West state constituency (1) with code SC/11/DT having been lawfully approved by the National Assembly, hence the suppression is illegal, unlawful, null and void.

“It is recognised that among others, the Federal High Court equally directed INEC to immediately restore and conduct election to fill the seat for Ethiope West state constituency 1 in the Delta State House of Assembly and the electoral area covered by this constituency shall be the present Jesse Ward I, Jesse Ward II, Jesse Ward III, Jesse Ward IV, Mosogar Ward I and Mosogar Ward II.”

Contributing, the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, who said the motion was in order, also urged INEC to comply with the court order.

The Senate, thereafter, approved the immediate restoration of Ethiope West state constituency (1) with code SC/11/DT comprising of Jesse Ward I, Jesse Ward II, Jesse Ward III, Jesse Ward IV, Mosogar Ward 1, and Mosogar Ward 11 in line with the decision, declarations and directives of the Federal High Court.

The upper legislative chamber also directed the electoral body to comply with its resolutions as well as the court decision ahead of the next general election.

It equally sought the concurrence of the House of Representatives in line with Section 115 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as altered).