Fubara vs Wike’s war: INEC chair speaks on status of Rivers Assembly lawmakers

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Fubara vs Wike’s war: INEC chair speaks on status of Rivers Assembly lawmakers

By Trek Africa Newspaper

 

 

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has finally broke its silence on the controversy trailing the status of the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly that crossed from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daily Sun reports.

 

Daily Sun said that INEC’s chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, formally reacted to it in his remarks at the second quarterly consultative meeting with media organisations held, on Wednesday, in Abuja.

 

Prof. Yakubu reportedly stated that the Commission was waiting for the law courts to make pronouncement on their positions before taking an appropriate steps.

 

He further explained that there were 32 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly elected during the 2023 general election, emphasising that the commission has no business with the resignation of the Assembly members.

 

While urging those resigning to address their letters to the Clerk of the Assembly not INEC, Yakubu said: “32 members were elected in the last general election into Rivers State House of Assembly. We have been bombarded with letters from those emerging as Speakers and even the PDP urging us to declare their seats vacant.

 

“INEC has no business with anybody resigning from the State House of Assembly. He should direct his letter of resignation to the Clerk of the House of Assembly. In one day, I received three letters but it is not our duty,” he said.

 

The electoral umpire boss further admitted that the commission is aware that the matters are in courts and will wait for the pronouncement of the courts to act accordingly.

“Our position remains that where matters are in Courts, we wait for judgments before taking steps. We are not the Courts so it’s not our responsibility to interpret cases. It is when Courts have given judgments that we now do what we as the electoral body should do, but untill such happens, we will not take any step that is not our constitutional responsibility.

 

“The National Assembly make laws, the judiciary interprets the laws so, it is not our duty to do that. It is within the Courts pronouncement we act,” he emphasised.

 

Commenting on the preparations for the forthcoming Edo and Ondo states off-cycle governorship elections, Yakubu reassured that the commission is ready.

 

“Taking into consideration the limited time to the governorship elections, the commission has decided to conduct the registration at Ward level and our State headquarters instead of our Local Government offices and a few designated centers as was the case in the past. This means that there will be 192 Ward registration centres in Edo State and 203 centres in Ondo State in addition to our State offices in Benin City and Akure, making a total of 397 walk-in registration centres in the two states.

 

“There will be no online pre-registration option in the two States because of time constraint. Each centre will be managed by two officials drawn from our regular staff and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). In the next few days, the Commission will commence the training of at least 794 officials for the exercise. The locations of the registration centres as well as other relevant information have been compiled in a detailed 28-page document included in your folders for this meeting. The same information has already been uploaded to our website and social media platforms for public information.”

Yakubu urged the media to join the commission in mobilising prospective registrants for the exercise, particularly on the need to register early and not wait until the deadline approaches when the registration centres will be inundated by eleventh hour registrants.

 

“In addition to the registration of voters, the commission will also make available the uncollected Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for collection during the CVR. In the coming days, the list of uncollected PVCs will be published in our offices in the two States and simultaneously uploaded to our website.

 

“We believe that doing so will make it easier for voters to know the availability of the cards and identify the locations to collect them. However, no PVCs will be collected by proxy. Registered voters should come in person to collect their cards. Again, we seek for the support of the media in encouraging voters to locate and pick up thier PVCs as was done in the past.

 

“Still on our preparations for the two Governorship elections, the Commission has published the final list of candidates for Edo following the conclusion of party primaries and the end of the period for withdrawal and substitution of candidates as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election,” he said.

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