Tension as Ebonyi Assembly declares three more PDP seats vacant

The Ebonyi State House of Assembly, yesterday, declared the seats of another three members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vacant, bringing the number of PDP seats the House had so far declared vacant to six.

Those affected are representative of Ishielu North, Ali Okechukwu, Franca Okpo (Abakaliki North) and Victor Aleke (Ebonyi West) state constituencies.

Speaker of the House, Francis Nwifuru, explained that the decision to declare the seats vacant followed a letter of resignation allegedly written by the three lawmakers, which was read, yesterday, at an emergency plenary of the House.

Our correspondent learnt that the 16 lawmakers, who were sacked by the Federal High Court Abuja and the Speaker were present during yesterday’s plenary, while the three lawmakers and the other five PDP colleagues were absent during the sitting.

The motion for the declaration of the seats of the three lawmakers was moved by the member Representing Ohaukwu South, Chinedu Onah and seconded by representative of Onicha West, Igwe Chukwuma.

After the motion was moved and seconded, the Speaker declared the seats of the three lawmakers vacant and directed the Clerk to write to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) notifying it of the development and the need to conduct fresh elections in the constituencies.

But in a swift reaction, the affected lawmakers urged members of the public to disregard the purported declaration of their seats vacant.

In a statement issued by Aleke on behalf of the other two lawmakers, he insisted that the action of the 16 sacked members, amounted to abuse of the rule of law and contempt of court judgment.

Besides, the House said the judiciary could not stop it from holding its plenary sessions in spite of the political upheavals in the state.

House Committee Chairman on Information, Arinze Chukwu (APC Ishielu South) made the declaration, while speaking with newsmen after yesterday’s plenary in Abakaliki.

He said the House was aware of the Federal High Court, Abuja judgment of March 8, 2022, which sacked 17 of its members for defecting from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and declared their seats vacant.

“We have appealed the judgment and until it is determined, we are not barred from holding plenary. No court can, therefore, stop us from sittings and we will continue to serve our people,” he said.

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