Enugu Lawyer Asks Court To Declare Sen Ekweremadu’s Seat Vacant

One O.A.U. Onyema, a lawyer, has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Enugu, praying the court to declare the seat of the Enugu West senatorial zone in the National Assembly vacant.

The seat is occupied by Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Ekweremadu is currently in a UK jail where he is being interrogated over an alleged organ harvest of a minor. He was detained since June 23, 2022. Ekweremadu’s efforts to save his ailing daughter, Sonia, who has a kidney default, landed him in his current ordeal.

To this end, Mr Onyema wants the court to compel the Peoples Democratic Party to replace Sen Ekweremadu with him (Onyema) on the grounds that he came second in the 2018 primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party for the senatorial district.

The suit number FHC/EN/CS/171/2022 listed the defendants as Senate President Ahmed Lawan, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the clerk of the National Assembly, the PDP, PDP national chairman Iyorchia Ayu and the Independent National Electoral Commission. Onyema argued that Sen Ekweremadu’s continued absence in the Senate deprives the people of the zone representation in the Senate.

According to him, “It is the intendment and contemplation of the constitution that Enugu West senatorial district shall have a functional representation in the Nigerian Senate.”

He is therefore seeking, “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 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 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 cannot 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 Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended, and the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended 2018.”

He further prayed the court to mandate the 5th and 6th defendants to ‘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.

Onyema also seeks a perpetual injunction to restrain 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 flagbearer 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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