By Henry Umoru
At last, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan Wednesday swore in the former Senior Legislative Aide to Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, Stephen Odey as Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District in the National Assembly.
The oath of office was administered at exactly 11:45 am by the Clerk of Senate, Dauda Ibrahim El-Ladan, immediately after the Senate rose from a closed session to commence plenary.
With the swearing-in of Odey as a Senator, the number of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senators now stands at 46, while the All Progressives Congress, APC, retains majority status with 63 members.
Senator Odey is replacing the former Chairman, Senate Committee on Trade and Investment, Senator Rose Oko, PDP, Cross River North who died in March this year.
Recall that Odey’s swearing-in was put on hold on Tuesday following a court order by the Federal High Court stopping same.
The President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan had however refused to swear in Odey following the political intrigues that unfolded.
Odey had on Tuesday arrived the National Assembly complex as early as 8am with supporters from Cross River State in anticipation for the swearing.
Odey who was the Senior Legislative Aide, SLA to Governor Ben Ayade as a Senator in the 7th Senator, was however disappointed on Tuesday when his name was not mentioned as one of those to take oath of office.
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He was the Chairman, Cross River State Universal Education Basic Education Board.
Recall that in a suit NO: FCT/HC/BW/M/633/2020 and before Justice OA Musa of the High Court of FCT in Abuja Judicial Division, member representing Ogoja/Yala Federal Constituency, Jarigbe Agom Jarighe, through his counsel Everestus U Chinedum, Esq, had prayed the court for an order of interim injunction restraining INEC from issuing a certificate of return or swearing-in by way of admittance of the Dr Stephen Odey or any other person in his stead as the senator, representing the Cross River State North senatorial district, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive motion on notice.
The case is between Hon Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe and INEC, Clerk of NASS, the Senate President and Chief John Alagha.
INEC had on Sunday, December 6, declared Dr Stephen Odey as the winner of Saturday, December 5 by-election held at Ogoja for the northern senatorial zone, having polled 129,207 votes to defeat the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Joe Agi, SAN, who scored 19,165 votes to place second.