The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) 2019 Edo State House of Assembly Candidate’s Forum on Friday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the certificates of return of the 14 members-elect whose seats have been legally declared vacant as a result of their refusal to subscribe to the oath of office.
Recall that upon proclamation of the 7th Edo State House of Assembly, 14 members-elect refused to present themselves for inauguration to perform their elected role of representing their constituencies but having failed to sit for over 180 sitting days, the leadership of the House of Assembly had no option but to declare their seats vacant.
Speaking to journalists in Benin City on behalf of the forum, Ezehi Igbas (Esan North East), former minority leader, demanded that the certificates of return be issued to candidates who emerged as the first runners up in the said election or a fresh election be fixed along with the September 19 governorship election.
According to him, as the first runners up, we requested the court to intervene by applying the legal doctrine of necessity to resolve the matter in order to ensure that the various constituencies are not continually denied representation.
“It should be noted that when their constituencies or seats were declared vacant by the EDHA in compliance with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended for refusal to subscribe to the oath of office and allegiance which was tantamount to abdication of responsibility.
“They approached the FHC Abuja to stop Independent National Electoral Commission from conducting a fresh election as directed by the EDHA.
“We, PDP 2019 EDHA candidates also approached the Federal High Court Benin seeking a judicial interpretation in the circumstances where elected candidates refused to subscribe to the oath of office and allegiance after having been issued certificate of return by INEC.
Ezehi who condemned the purported inauguration of the members-elect however, called on security agencies to prosecute the perpetrators and sponsors so as not to spell doom for democracy and the lives of Edo people.
While aligning with the forum, the state chairman of the party, Tony Aziegbemi said the action by the members-elect and the All Progressives Congress (APC) is an attempt to upset the democracy in Edo State.
“To give insight to what happened yesterday at the House of Assembly in Edo State. As a party, we looked at the issue and we have come to the inevitable conclusion which is, there was a coup attempt on Thursday, August 6, 2020 in Edo State,” he added.