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Imo assembly declares lawmaker’s seat vacant over ‘absence’, orders bye-election

Imo assembly declares lawmaker’s seat vacant over ‘absence’, orders bye-election
December 23
20:39 2021

Kennedy Ibeh, speaker of the Imo house of assembly, has declared vacant the seat of Tochi Okereke, lawmaker representing Ngor Okpala constituency.

Ibeh gave the ruling on Thursday following a motion sponsored by Johnson Duru, lawmaker representing Ideato south.

According to NAN, Duru said Okereke had been absent from the house proceedings for more than one-third of the total number of days the house had sat since its inauguration in 2019.

He was reportedly last seen at the house in December 2020.

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A breakdown of Okereke’s attendance as provided by Chinelo Emeghara, clerk of the house, indicated that he attended proceedings 29 times in 2019; a total of 14 times in 2020, and zero attendance in 2021.

Thereafter, the speaker declared his seat vacant.

Ibeh said the lawmaker, who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), failed to meet the requirements of his office.

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“[His absence] was without any just cause and should not be allowed to continue,” the speaker said.

He ordered that a bye-election be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) within 90 days to elect a new representative for the constituency.

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