Rivers lawmakers whose seats were declared vacant lack sound legal advice – Falana

December 13, 2023

Foremost constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, said the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly whose seats were declared vacant were inexposed to sound legal advice.

Falana stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.

He said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is required by law to conduct elections for the seats of the lawmakers.

He said, “The legislators were not exposed to sound legal advice. Everybody should know that once the Supreme Court has made a pronouncement on a matter in any country, you’re bound to comply, and if you’re going to take any decision, you must study the judgement critically.

“Just yesterday, 20 legislators who defected from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, had their seats declared vacant by the court. That’s the law; unless the Supreme Court decides to change it, that is the law in Nigeria today.

“It’s also a good development; it’s a good law; it’s a good interpretation that there should be no political prostitution in the country, because it’s tountamount to political immorality if you vote on the platform of a political party and you abandon the party; you’re advised to go and try your luck by contesting again under the new political party,” he said.

Recall that the Rivers State House of Assembly has declared the seats of the 27 members who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party the All Progressives Congress vacant.

The 27 lawmakers loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, defected from the party recently amid moves to impeach the state governor, Sim Fubara.

The affected lawmakers were not present at the sitting where their seats were declared vacant.

The four-member Assembly, led by factional Speaker Edison Ehie, loyal to the state governor, on Wednesday, said the decision to declare the seats vacant was in line with Section 109 (1) (g) and 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

The Speaker, who read the names of the lawmakers affected, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct fresh elections within the time frame provided by law to fill the positions.

“Distinguished colleagues, the House will duly inform the Independent National Electoral Commission of the vacancies in the Rivers State House of Assembly and indeed, to conduct a fresh election to fill the above vacancies,” he declared

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