The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it will obey any lawful resolution of the parliament including that of the Edo State House of Assembly which declared the seats of 14 lawmakers-elect vacant.
Mr. Rotimi L. Oyekanmi, Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, told Daily Trust yesterday in Abuja that the commission, as a law-abiding institution was committed to obeying the law.
He was reacting to Wednesday’s proclamation of the Edo State House of Assembly declaring vacant the seats of 14 members-elect who were yet to be sworn in following controversies trailing the inauguration of the parliament.
He however said he was not aware if the Edo Assembly pronouncement has been formally sent to the commission.
“Unless there is a valid court order served on the commission, asking it to take an action or asking it to stay action on an issue, it is duty bound to obey any lawful pronouncement that is it responsibility,” Oyekanmi said.
The Edo State Assembly had during its plenary on Wednesday, presided over by the Speaker, Francis Okiye, declared the seats vacant and asked INEC to within 90 days conduct by-elections into the affected constituencies.
Meanwhile, the embattled members-elect have said the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Frank Okiye, lacked the power to declare their seats vacant
Spokesman of the members-elect, Washington Osifo, representing Uhunmwode constituency, described the action of the House as laughable.
“It is a laughing matter because the matter is before the court and when a matter is before the court such action is prejudice. We are challenging the illegal inauguration of the house and anything put on nothing cannot stand.
“We are not surprised because illegality begets illegality and for Okiye to be working with Governor Godwin Obaseki, the right thing cannot be done. So we were not surprised because those who do not mean well for the people are entrusted with responsibility,” he said.
On his part, Chris Okaeben, representing Oredo West constituency, said Okiye Edo currently has no House of Assembly as it did not form a quorum as spelt out by the 1999 Constitution.
Also speaking, a former speaker of the house, Hon Victor Edoror, representing Esan Central constituency, said his constituents are happy with his decision to stay away from what he termed illegal assembly.
Also responding Seidu Oshiomhole, representing Etsako Constituency II, said the speaker was dreaming as he lacked the power to declare their seats vacant.
Similarly, a group under the aegis of Reformed Oghomwan Mandate Group (ROMG) has commended the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA), for declaring the seats of 14 member-elects vacant for not presenting themselves for inauguration.