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Reactions as Senate threatens ‘strike’ over pending re-run polls 

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The Senate, yesterday, threatened to suspend plenary sessions if the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, fails to conduct all pending re-run elections into legislative positions in Rivers State.

This followed the unanimous adoption of a motion under matters of urgent public importance sponsored by Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, PDP, Enugu East and Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South.

Moving the motion, Senator Ekweremadu said INEC’s failure to conduct the re-run elections in Rivers State, within the time frame ordered by the respective Election Petition Tribunals/Courts, was in total breach of the Electoral Act and Section 76 of the 1999 Constitution, adding that the action of the electoral umpire in Rivers State was endangering the nation’s democracy.

The Senate’s threat elicited concern from former Senate President, Chief Adolphus Wabara and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, who urged the lawmakers not to shut down government but rather should carry out their oversight functions.

Speaking with newsmen, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senate, Senator Ita Enang, said: “ It will not be fair for me to talk on the matter that involves INEC. It is an independent body and I am sure that it will take a decision within the stipulated time.”

However, INEC said, yesterday, that it would conduct the pending elections before the middle of next month.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives gave marching orders to the electoral umpire to conduct the elections because it was denying affected states legislative representations.

In the motion, the sponsors resolved to “call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct all outstanding elections in Rivers State before the end of November 2016; failing which the Senate will suspend plenary till such a time the said elections are held and the people of Rivers State are represented in the respective Legislative houses.”

It was later amended to read that the Senate resolved to “call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct all outstanding elections in Rivers State not later than December 10, 2016; failing which the Senate will suspend plenary till such a time the said elections are held and the people of Rivers State are represented in the respective Legislative houses.”

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