By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
ASABA- LEADERS and stakeholders of communities, towns and clans that make up Aniocha II State Constituency in Delta State have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of taking no tangible step to reinstate the constituency within 90 days as directed by the Supreme Court, since November 10, 2019, despite assurance by the electoral body, a year after.
The clusters under the Idumuje Na Odiani Clans Elders/Leaders Forum in a letter by the chairman, Prof Godwin and Nduka and four others, to the INEC chairman, said: “Since the stakeholders’ meeting convened by INEC and held on 24th day of November, 2020, at the Issele-Uku Unity Hall, Issele-Uku, between the stakeholders from Aniocha North local government area and INEC, we have been expecting further action on the above stated judgment and rulings.|”
“We recall that at the said stakeholders’ meeting of 24th November, 2020, the INEC National Director on Delineation assured the communities as represented at the meeting of speedy, further actions on the processes of executing the judgment rulings.
“We lament to observe that till now the expected action has not been carried out. In the interest of peace and justice, we appeal to the honorable chairman to use his good office ensure prompt and holistic execution of the judgment rulings,” they said.
The communities, which the Supreme Court directed should be restored in Aniocha North Constituency II are Idumuje-Unor, Idumuje-Ugboko, Ukwunzu, Ugbodu, Idumuogo, Ugboba, Ubulunu, Anioma and Ogodor in Aniocha North local government area.
INEC Secretary, Rose Oriaran-Anthony, in response, asserted: “I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated January, 2021 on the above subject matter , and to inform you that the Commission has completed its processes for the restoration of the constituency which include stakeholders’ engagement, mapping of boundaries and has sent a letter of recommendation for the restoration of Aniocha North II state constituency to the National Assembly for approval in line with the provision of Section 115 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)…”
The provision read: ‘Where the boundaries of any state constituency established under section 112 of the constitution are altered in accordance with the provisions of section 114 of the constitution, that alteration shall come into effect after it has been approved by the National Assembly and after the current life of the House of Assembly’
“Please accept the assurances of the Commission’s warm regards,” she stated.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Benin City had in its judgment by Samuel Oseji and two others, 22 November, 2017, affirmed by the Supreme Court, ruled: “It is hereby declared that having regard to sections 91 and 112 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the defendant/respondent does not have any power and/or discretion whatsoever to suppress and/or refuse to restore the existing Aniocha North II state constituency in Delta state.”
“It is hereby further declared that having regard to sections 91 and 112 of the Constitution… the defendant/respondent acted illegally, unfairly, unconstitutionally, improperly and unjustly to have suppressed and refused to restore Aniocha North II state constituency… and to have failed and/or neglected as it did to conduct elections in the said Aniocha North II state constituency in the Delta state House of Assembly general elections.”
The court granted an order directing and compelling INEC “either by herself or by her agents, her servants, her privies, her surrogates, her staff or any person through the defendant/respondent to conduct election within 90 days in Aniocha North II state constituency… for the purpose of electing the member representing Aniocha II state constituency in the Delta state House of Assembly.