EXCEPT the court decides otherwise, Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha will not represent the Imo West Senatorial District when the Ninth National Assembly is inaugurated on June 8.
He was not among the senators presented with Certificates of Return (CoRs) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the International Conference Centre (ICC) in Abuja yesterday.
INEC had said it was not going to recognise the Imo governor as the senator-elect over claims by the Returning Officer (RO)that he announced Okorocha as winner of the February 23 National Assembly election under duress.
Following the ROs report, INEC placed an embargo on Okorochas victory at the poll.
The governor and his Ogun State counterpart, Ibikunle Amosun, have been suspended by the All Progressives Congress (APC) for alleged anti-party activities.
They backed the candidates of other parties against the APCs in the March governorship election. Okorocha backed his son-in-law Uche Nwosu of the Action Alliance (AA) against APCs Senator Hope Uzodinma. Amosu supported Adekunle Akinlade of the Allied Peoples Movement (APM) against Prince Dapo Abiodun, who won the poll.
INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu called for the reveiw of the electoral law ahead of the next general elections in 2023.
In his opening remarks at the presentation of the CoRs, Prof. Yakubu noted that the commission will soon begin a review of the 2019 polls.
He said: As a matter of urgency, the commission will begin work on post-2019 elections review and road map to 2023.
There is a lot of work but very little time available. As a process governed by law, the success of election in Nigeria depends to a large extent, on the electoral legal framework and, most importantly, in ensuring adherence to the law.
I want to assure you that we will continue to work with the National Assembly to review and strength on our electoral law.
But, I want to appeal to the senators-elect to please start work early and conclude work on electoral framework in a good time well ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The tendency to delay electoral reform, particularly the review of electoral framework until it is too close to the elections,leave the commission with little time to deveop processes, including regulations and guidelines, make required consultations with stakeholders, embark on effective voter education, including sensitisation, train staff and organise deployment for the elections.
I am glad that among the senators-elect are senators that we have worked very closely with and some of them have taken initiative or even sponsore private member bills to advance the cause of electoral reform.
INEC also issued certificates to all elected members of the House of Representatives.
Some of them promised to give their best in representing their constituents.
One of them, Ahmed Maje, a fourth time member of the House of Representatives, representing Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State (APC), pledged better representation for his constituency.
He said: I am going to ensure that empowerment of our youth and women are given priority , Adaramodu said.
Mrs. Blessing Onuh, elected member (All Progressives Grand Alliance (Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency of Benue State, said she would empower women and ensure access to education for youths.
Onuh is former Senate President David Marks daughter.
Author: Vincent Ikuomola