By Fred Itua, Abuja
Four months after three senators vacated their seats, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to conduct by-elections.
While two of the senators emerged as national and deputy national chairman of the Progressives Congress (APC) respectively, the other was named deputy governor of Zamfara State.
INEC’s alleged delay and purported refusal is reportedly causing ripples in the National Assembly and in the various senatorial districts where there are currently no representatives.
In late March, Abdullahi Adamu and Abubakar Kyari emerged national chairman and deputy national chairman (North) of APC.
Adamu and Kyari represented Nasarawa West and Borno North respectively until their resignation on April 12 to contest other positions, one year to the end of the ninth National Assembly.
Muhammad Nasiha of the Zamfara Central senatorial district, on March 2022, vacated the parliament after he was named as deputy governor of Zamfara State, following the impeachment of Mahdi Aliyu-Gusau
Daily Sun gathered that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has already communicated to INEC, declaring the three senatorial seats vacant.
Reactions have continued to trail the delay in the conduct of the by-election as political parties and constituents have challenged the electoral body.
Executive Director, HallowMace Foundation, a pro-parliamentary group, Sunny Osiebe, told Daily Sun that he had already written to INEC and other interested groups to conduct the by-elections.
“Without doubts, the indifference or even perceived nonchalance on the part of INEC, with regard to conducting elections to fill vacancies created in such constituencies as we mentioned earlier in the national and state assemblies at the moment, constitutes gross negligence and a direct violation of Section 76 (1) and (2) of the 1999 Constitution…
“This complete shirk in the responsibility of the INEC seems to be nothing other than a calculated attempt to wilfully deny a section of the populace their right to effective representation for whatever reason.”
In Borno North, Bukar Saina Mohammed from Monguno council said the resignation would enable the senatorial district to have a performing lawmaker. He described Kyari’s resignation from the Senate as an easy exit to avert humiliating defeat in 2023 for his poor performance in representing the people of Northern Borno.
APC Publicity Secretary in Borno State, Auwal Hamza, said they were waiting for INEC to fix date for the by-election.
In Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, constituents have expressed displeasure over the delay.
A resident, Aliyu Usman told Daily Sun that the electoral body should hasten up the conduct of the by-election.
“We are missing a lot in terms of representation. The reason I said so is that those constituencies with representations are still benefitting a lot, especially in terms of constituency projects but we are missing out.
“Everything has stopped because we have no representative, therefore, we are appealing to the electoral body to conduct the election,” Usman said.
Another constituent, Musa Haruna, said the delay is causing apprehension in the senatorial district. He said with the conclusion of the Ekiti and Osun states governorship elections, INEC has no excuse not to conduct the by-election.
“INEC should conduct a by-election for Zamfara Central so that we can have someone that will be raising issues affecting our area, especially the problem of insecurity,” he said.
Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Zamfara State, Saidu Babura, said the delay was due to the insecurity.
“We will conduct the by-elections any time the security situation improves. So, there is no cause for alarm regarding the by-elections in the constituencies,” he said.