The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has blamed the leadership of the House of Representatives for the delay in conducting a by-election into the vacant Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State.
The commission told Daily Trust Wednesday that Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had yet to declare the seat vacant as required by the law.
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The House had at the plenary Wednesday called on INEC to fill the vacant seat so that the people could have a representative.
This followed the adoption of a motion on matters of urgent public importance by member representing Kanke/Kanam federal constituency of Plateau State, Yusuf Adamu Gagdi, at the plenary yesterday.
It also called on the federal government through its various humanitarian agencies to provide relief materials to victims of attacks in Bassa communities in Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency of Plateau State.
But when contacted, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, who is the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the commission had not received any communication to that effect.
He said, “A by-election in the event of death or resignation of a member of the National or State Assembly is conducted by the commission following the declaration of vacancy by the Presiding Officer, that is, the President (in the case of the Senate) or Speaker (in the cases of the House of Representatives and State House of Assembly).
“With reference to the Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency, the Speaker of the House of Representatives has not declared the seat vacant as he did recently in respect of the Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State for which a bye-election was conducted by the Commission on 14th August 2021.
“Once such a vacancy is declared, the law requires the Commission to conduct the bye-election within 30 days. At present, there is nothing INEC can do until a vacancy is declared by the Speaker which is always accompanied by a Writ personally signed by him for the commission to conduct a bye-election,” Oyekanmi said.
Presenting the motion, Gagdi had said, “Barbaric killings have caused a serious breach of peace in some parts of the Jos North and Bassa Local Government Areas.”