The Senate has pronounced empty the seats of two expired legislators. The legislators are Mustapha Bukar of Katsina North senatorial region who passed on April 4, 2018,and Ali Wakili of Bauchi South senatorial region who kicked the bucket on March 17, 2018.
However, the seat of Senator Joshua Dariye representing Plateau Central senatorial district was not declared vacant despite the fact that he has been sentenced to 14 years in prison by a Federal High Court for fraud.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, said during a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja on Wednesday that the House of Representatives had also declared vacant the seat of the late Umar Jibril of Lokoja/Kogi federal constituency while Obudu 1 state constituency of Cross River State had also been declared vacant.
Yakubu said by-elections would be conducted within the next 30 days.
He added, “In the last few days the commission has received an official declaration of vacancies from the National Assembly in respect of Bauchi South Senatorial District, Katsina North Senatorial District and the Lokoja Federal Constituency in Kogi State.
“A similar declaration was made by the Cross River State House of Assembly in respect of Obudu 1 state constituency. Consequently, the commission is set to conduct by-elections to fill the vacancies in the four constituencies which have a total of over two million registered voters spread across 3,355 polling units in 234 wards and 22 local government areas.
“Considering the requirement of the law that such an election should be conducted by the commission within 30 days following the declaration of vacancy, we are planning to conduct all the four elections on the same date in all the four states.”
Speaking with our correspondent, the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), stated that it would be wrong if Dariye was still receiving allowances while in prison.
Sagay added, “I don’t think he should be receiving salaries because this would be a major infraction of our laws. Someone who is in prison for fraud which is one of the reasons for disqualifying anyone from contesting should not be receiving salary unless someone is extremely reckless in the National Assembly.”