By Charles Onyekwere,
A lawyer cum politician, O.A.U Onyema has approached the Federal High Court, Enugu, to declare the seat of Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who represents Enugu West zone vacant.
Ekweremadu and his wife are facing charges of child trafficking and organ harvesting in the United Kingdom and have remained in detention since June 23rd, 2022.
The matter in Suit No: FHC/EN/CS/171/2022 has the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the Clerk of the National Assembly, the PDP, National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu and INEC as defendants.
Barr. Onyema, who was the second runner-up in the 2018 primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party for Enugu West Senatorial zone, is also asking the court to direct the PDP to forward his name to the relevant quarters as the replacement for embattled Ike Ekweremadu.
While expressing concern for Ekweremadu’s ordeal, Onyema said it would be wrong to deprive Enugu West Zone of representation in the Senate, thus, he is seeking a declaration that “it is the intendment and contemplation of the Constitution that Enugu West Senatorial District, SHALL have a functional representation in the Nigerian Senate.
“A DECLARATION that it is the intendment and contemplation of the Constitution, the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended, and the Senate Legislative calendar 2022, that the seat of Enugu West Senatorial District in the 9th Senate will be declared vacant by default if the Senator representing it is without just cause is absent from meetings of the Senate for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one –third of the total number of days during which the House of Senate meets in any one year, which is 1/3 of 181 days.
“A DECLARATION that the 3rd defendant being the Senator representing Enugu West Senatorial District HAS DEFAULTED in representation, and HAS WITHOUT JUST CAUSE ABSENTED FROM MEETINGS of the Senate for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one–third of the total number of days during which the House of Senate meets in any one year; and consequentially, it CAN NOT be said that the 3RD DEFENDANT IS STILL VALIDLY REPRESENTING the Plaintiff AND Enugu West Senatorial District in the Nigerian Senate, as provided by the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as amended; and it is insensitive, callous, unpatriotic, null, void and of no effect, for anyone to qualify the circumstance of the 3rd defendant’s absent and non-representation in the present scenario, as being a just cause.
“A DECLARATION that, going by the denial of several Bail applications of the 3rd defendant by the United Kingdom Metropolitan Court, up till date, and the fixing of PRE-TRIAL of the defendant’s matter on or about 4th day of October, 2022, and TRIAL on or about the 28th day of May 2023 as Judicially noticed, it CANNOT be RIGHTLY SAID that the 3rd defendant will still perform his duty of representing the Plaintiff or his senatorial district, before the end of the tenure of the 9th Senate around 29th day of May 2023, as provided for in the and the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended, and the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended 2018.”
Onyema is further seeking an “ORDER COMMANDING and MANDATING the 5th and 6th Defendants to as a matter of expediency SELECT, NOMINATE and FORWARD the NAME OF THE PLAINTIFF (Chief Sir Ogochukwu A.U. Onyema (O.A.U.) to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th and 8th defendants as REPLACEMENT of the 3rd defendant in the 2nd defendant, within 7 working days of the service of this Order.
He also wants a “PERPETUAL INJUNCTION restraining the 5th and 6th defendants from ever trying to submit, or submitting to the 1st, 2nd, 4th,7th and 8th defendants, any other person’s name, under any guise, or reason whatsoever, other than the name of the Plaintiff being the available runner–up in the 2018 PDP Senatorial Primary Election, from where the 3rd defendant emerged as flag bearer before the 6th defendant won the seat of Enugu West Senatorial District in the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
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