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Saturday, 21 December 2013

Presidency Calls On Tambuwal To Declare Defecting Lawmakers’ Seats Vacant, INEC To Conduct Fresh Polls

A GulakThe Presidency has commenced moves to ensure that the 37 lawmakers that defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress on Wednesday, lose their seats.
To achieve this aim, the presidency has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, to declare the seats of the lawmakers vacant.
It has also asked INEC to prepare to conduct fresh elections in the affected lawmakers’ constituencies with a view to replacing them since there is still one more year before the tenure of the legislators expires.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Saturday PUNCH, the Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Mr. Ahmed Gulak, said President Goodluck Jonathan was not losing sleep about the development especially as speculations continue to gain ground that the lawmakers may commence the process of impeaching him.
According to Gulak, “We have asked the Speaker and INEC to declare the seats of the lawmakers vacant. Anyone that wants to remain in the House should face the electorate and contest on the platform of their new party”.
He added that the President was not afraid of impeachment “because he has not committed any impeachable offence”.
The presidential aide argued that what played out on the floor of the House of Representatives on Wednesday was just a case of lawmakers toeing the path already laid down by their state governors, who had earlier defected to APC.
He noted that since INEC had taken a position that there was no division in the ruling party and that the electoral umpire had given a verdict to that effect, “the next step for the commission is to declare the seats of the defected lawmakers vacant and conduct fresh elections to replace them”.
Gulak also extended the call to the Speaker saying the next step is for him “to declare the seats of the defected lawmakers vacant to pave the way for INEC to conduct fresh elections for their constituents to elect their replacements.
“Since there is still one year to go, INEC should prepare for elections”, he added.
Gulak advised the affected lawmakers to simply go and re-contest on the platform of their new party if they were desirous of remaining in the House of Representatives just as he explained that the presidency’s position is that nobody should be forced to remain where they do not want to be.
When asked whether Mr. Jonathan is reaching out to the leadership of the House of Representatives on the development, Gulak said the President was in constant touch with the leadership of the National Assembly at the party level.


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