Friday, December 20, 2013

Presidency Calls On Tambuwal To Declare Defecting Lawmakers’ Seats Vacant, INEC To Conduct Fresh Polls

The Presidency has commenced moves to ensure that the 37 lawmakers
that defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to the All
Progressives Congress on Wednesday, lose their seats.
To achieve this aim, the presidency has asked the Independent National
Electoral Commission and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji
Aminu Tambuwal, to declare the seats of the lawmakers vacant.
It has also asked INEC to prepare to conduct fresh elections in the
affected lawmakers' constituencies with a view to replacing them since
there is still one more year before the tenure of the legislators
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Saturday PUNCH, the Special
Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, said
President Goodluck Jonathan was not losing sleep about the development
especially as speculations continue to gain ground that the lawmakers
may commence the process of impeaching him.
According to Gulak, "We have asked the Speaker and INEC to declare the
seats of the lawmakers vacant. Anyone that wants to remain in the
House should face the electorate and contest on the platform of their
new party".
He added that the President was not afraid of impeachment "because he
has not committed any impeachable offence".
The presidential aide argued that what played out on the floor of the
House of Representatives on Wednesday was just a case of lawmakers
toeing the path already laid down by their state governors, who had
earlier defected to APC.
He noted that since INEC had taken a position that there was no
division in the ruling party and that the electoral umpire had given a
verdict to that effect, "the next step for the commission is to
declare the seats of the defected lawmakers vacant and conduct fresh
elections to replace them".
Gulak also extended the call to the Speaker saying the next step is
for him "to declare the seats of the defected lawmakers vacant to pave
the way for INEC to conduct fresh elections for their constituents to
elect their replacements.
"Since there is still one year to go, INEC should prepare for
elections", he added.
Gulak advised the affected lawmakers to simply go and re-contest on
the platform of their new party if they were desirous of remaining in
the House of Representatives just as he explained that the
presidency's position is that nobody should be forced to remain where
they do not want to be.
When asked whether Mr. Jonathan is reaching out to the leadership of
the House of Representatives on the development, Gulak said the
President was in constant touch with the leadership of the National
Assembly at the party level.

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