Senate refuses to swear in Igbeke

DESPITE Wednesday’s judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, the Senate refused to swear in Mr Alphonsus Igbeke of  the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), who was declared the winner of  the April 2007 election for Anambra  North Senatorial District, as it still recognised Senator Joy Emordi as the  legal member.

The  chairman of the five-man panel, which constituted the appellate court,  Justice  Sulaiman Galadima,  had ordered the Senate President, Senator David Mark, and the Clerk of the Senate to swear in Igbeke as the senator representing Anambra North in the upper chamber of the National Assembly. 

The court also ordered that Igbeke should be allowed to sit in the Senate without any delay but for the second time, he was, on Thursday, disallowed from entering the Senate chamber even with the certificate of return duly issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Igbeke,   told reporters that  when he reported to the Senate Clerk for swearing-in, “he (Clerk) referred me to the Senate President which I believe is not the normal procedure.”

Senator  Emordi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was sacked by the Appeal Court judgment on March 25,  went to the same court contesting  the nullification of her election, praying the court to set aside the judgment and look at the two judgments for the  purposes of review “and interpretation to give effect to the meaning and intent.” 

But Justice Galadima ruled that, “ there was no constitutional issue arising from the two judgments to warrant a reference to the Supreme Court to seek its opinion.”

Briefing  Senate reporters on the matter, Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Ayogu Eze,  said Igbeke could not be sworn in because Emordi had appealed the appeal  court’s judgment at the Supreme Court.

According to him,  “Just for the avoidance of doubt, we have been given a notice that a case has been filed at the Supreme Court challenging the decision of the Appeal Court .”

The Senate spokesman said in conformity with Order 53(5) of the Senate Standing Rules, Emodi would remain in the Senate because “When a matter is in court, Senate cannot take any action that could be prejudicial in the case before the court.”

The Senate circulated a notice of appeal filed by Emodi before the Supreme Court, dated May 13, wherein it stated that, “The Court of Appeal  Enugu Division erred in law when it held that the  appellant did not make out a constitutional case worthy of reference to the Supreme Court.”

Posted by Akuluno