Ogochukwu Onyema, a lawyer, petitioned the Federal High Court in Abuja to declare vacant the seat of Ike Ekweremadu, Senator representing Enugu West.
Onyema challenged the ticket of the left for the position in 2019 but lost to the former vice-president of the Senate.
Ekweremadu is in detention in United Kingdom since July.
Senator and Beatrice, his wife, face charges bordering on criminal association in connection with organizing/facilitating the travel of another person with a view to its exploitation, namely the removal of organs.
In a suit marked FHC/EN/CS/7/2019, the lawyer asked the court to order Iyorchia Ayu, national president of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to submit his name as a replacement.
Onyema asked the Electoral Commission National Independent (INEC) to withdraw the return certificate issued to Ekweremadu.
“Whether it is the intention and the co ntemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (42) as amended 2018; the Rules of the Senate 42 as amended; and the Senate Legislative Calendar 2019, that the seat of the Enugu West Senate District in the 9th Senate shall be declared vacant by default, if the Representative Senator, without cause valid absent from the sittings of the Senate for a period representing in the aggregate more than one-third of the total number of days during which the Senate meets during a year, i.e. one-third of 20,” the court documents read.
“Whether due to the continued absence of the 3rd accused (Ekweremadu) from the Senate since 22 th day of June 2019 or the preceding days (when he last attended the sitting of the Senate), up to the date of adaptation of this subpoena, or any later date, it could be said that the 3rd Respondent still validly represents the Claimant (Chief Onyema) and the Senatorial District of Enugu West as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , and the Rules of the Senate 2015 as amended, to the Senate of Nigeria.
“Believe in the heinous allegations made against the 3rd defendant and his incarceration in the UK, Wandsworth Prison, for approximately th day of June 2019 until the date of adoption of this summons, one can to say that the 3rd Respondent has failed and absented himself from representing the Claimant and the Senate District of Enugu West in the Senate Chamber, without cause, as provided for in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended in 2018.”
“THIS IS A DOOR DISCOVERED”
In his observations, Chinenye Orji, a lawyer, said that Onyema was trying to enter in the upper Legislative Chamber “by the back door”.
“The Senate sits only three days a week, that is to say from Tuesday to Thursday. Ekweremadu was arrested at the United Kingdom around June and in the Senate during the holidays es in July and returned on 20 September,” Orji said.
“So there’s no way he can be out of session for a third of the seats by December because the Senate will only be sitting for a maximum of 42 days. When you take Christmas, it will be much less. And if you add in New Year’s and 2019 election holidays, there’s no way he could have missed plenary for the rest of the life of the Senate, which will most likely be the end of May 2018.
“The electoral law 2019 provides that you cannot hold elected office without participating in all the processes leading up to the election. So, did the OAU Onyema contest the senatorial election in 2019? The answer is ‘No’.”
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