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Imo Speaker declares member’s seat vacant, suspends three lawmakers

By Collins Osuji, Owerri
24 December 2021   |   2:29 am
Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Kennedy Ibe, has declared the seat of representative of Ngor-Okpala, Tochi Okere, vacant over absenteeism from sittings.

Kennedy Ibe

Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Kennedy Ibe, has declared the seat of representative of Ngor-Okpala, Tochi Okere, vacant over absenteeism from sittings.

Ibe, who stated this at the plenary, yesterday, also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct a by-election to elect a new member to replace his position.

He said the sacking of the Ngor-Okpala member was in line with the House rules and the 1999 Constitution as amended, adding that Okere had not attended plenaries up to one-third since he was inaugurated as a lawmaker in 2019.

The Speaker disclosed that the house register indicated that the lawmaker only attended plenaries 29 times in 2019, 14 times in 2020 and did not attend any sitting in 2021.

He revealed that the House had received two petitions from Ngor-Okpala constituents, urging the House Assembly to declare the seat vacant on the basis of Okere’s non-performance.

In the same vein, Ibe equally announced the suspension of Authur Eguim (Ideato North), Ngozi Obiefule (Isu) and Obinna Okwara (Nkwerre) over what he described as dereliction of duty.

Ibe said the three suspended lawmakers failed to attend legislative activities on the 2022 budget proposal, as submitted to the Assembly by Governor Hope Uzodimma.

The Guardian recalled that with the suspension of the three lawmakers, six lawmakers are now suspended after the immediate past Speaker, Paul Emeziem, a former Deputy Speaker, Okey Onyekanma and former Minority Leader, Ekene Nnodimele, were suspended indefinitely on November 8, 2021 when he (Ibe) emerged Speaker.