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Fresh trouble for Ekweremadu as Enugu lawyer seeks declaration of seat vacant

By Lawrence Njoku, Enugu
22 September 2022   |   6:21 am
There seem to be more troubles for former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who has been in detention in the United Kingdom since June this year over allegation of organ harvesting, as a lawyer, Chief Ogochukwu Onyema...

Ike Ekweremadu

There seem to be more troubles for former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, who has been in detention in the United Kingdom since June this year over allegation of organ harvesting, as a lawyer, Chief Ogochukwu Onyema, has asked the Federal High Court, Enugu, to declare his seat vacant by default of representation.

Onyema, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had contested the primary of the party for Enugu West Senatorial ticket in 2018 for 2019 general elections, but lost to Ekweremadu. He, however, finished third behind another aspirant, who is said to have died two years ago.

In the suit where he listed Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; Clerk of the National Assembly; National Chairman of the PDP, Iyorchia Ayu; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu and INEC as defendants, Onyema asked the court to declare that, by the contemplation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended; 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, absent from meetings of the Senate for a period amounting, in the aggregate, to more than 1/3 of the total number of days during which the House or Senate meets in any one year, which is 1/3 of 181 days.

He argued that going by denial of several bail applications on Ekweremadu by the United Kingdom Metropolitan Court till date, “and the fixing of his pre-trial on or about October 4, 2022, and trial on or about May 28, 2023 as judicially noticed, it cannot be rightly said that Ekweremadu will still perform his duty of representing Enugu West Senatorial zone as provided in the constitution.”

Onyema, who asked the court to compel the Senate President, PDP and INEC to declare Ekweremadu’s seat vacant, also requested for the order of court on the PDP to forward his name (Onyema) as replacement for Ekweremadu within the seven days of service of the order.

He asked the court for an order to withdraw the certificate of return issued to Ekweremadu and fresh certificate of return issued in his favour, as well as a perpetual injunction barring the party from submitting the name of any other person except him.

When the matter came up, yesterday, Justice I.N Buba had granted the leave of the court to serve the defendants on their individual addresses outside jurisdiction and substituted service of the originating summons, as well as other court processes in the matter.

He also adjourned to October 5, 2022, for possible hearing and addresses on jurisdiction.

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