By-elections: Senate adjourns plenary till February 6

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Reps senate

After a month of recess, the Senate has again adjourned plenary to embark on campaigns for by-elections.

The Independent National Electoral Commission approved February 3, 2024 by-elections resulting from the resignation or death of members of the National and state Houses of Assembly.

The Senate had on December 30, 2023 adjourned plenary after it passed the 2024 Appropriation Bill.

After resumption on Tuesday, the lawmakers went into closed-door for two hours where they deliberated on the issue of urgent national importance.

After taking the business of the day, the Senate thereafter adjourned plenary till Tuesday, February 6.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, at the end of the session said, “In view of the elections in about 36 constituencies in the country, coming up on Saturday, both houses of the House of Representatives and the distinguished chamber of the Senate, we have agreed that we have less than 48 hours to partake in the campaigns which will close on Thursday by midnight.

“And therefore, this Senate stands adjourned till the 6th day of February 2024 at 11 am prompt.”

Meanwhile, the Senate read a letter forwarded to it by President Bola Tinubu, asking it to confirm the sack of the Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Babatunde Irukera.

Reading the letter at the resumption of a four-week recess by the Upper Chamber, Akpabio said the request was by the provisions of Section 8 (2) of the FCCPC Act, 2018.

He also announced that Irukera’s disengagement took effect from Monday, January 8, 2024.

The request of Tinubu is referred to the committee of the whole for further action.

Tinubu on January 8, 2024, sacked Irukera as CEO of FCCPC.

INEC chairman urges new REC to uphold neutrality

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, has urged the newly sworn-in Resident Electoral Commissioner, Etekamba Umoren, to remain neutral while discharging his duties.

The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Sam Olumekun, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.

The Senate had in November 2023 approved the appointment of 10 nominees of President Bola Tinubu as RECs.

The appointment followed Tinubu’s request for confirmation of the nomination of the RECs for INEC by the provisions of Section 154(1) of the Constitution.

Mahmood swore in nine of the RECs on December 12 2023, noting that the 10th REC-designate would be sworn in January on the expiration of the tenure of the REC representing Akwa Ibom State.

According to the Tuesday statement, Umoren has been deployed to Delta State following the expiration of the tenure of the last holder of the office on January 29, 2024.

The statement read, “The commission held its regular weekly meeting today, Tuesday, January 30, 2024.

“The meeting was preceded by the swearing-in of Mr Etekamba Udo Umoren, as Resident Electoral Commissioner and deployed to Delta State following the expiration of the tenure of the last holder of the office yesterday, Monday, January 29 2024.

“The Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, urged the new REC to adhere strictly to his oath of office which requires neutrality and impartiality in the discharge of his duties.

“He also enjoined the new REC to abide by the commission’s Code of Conduct and sustain regular consultations with stakeholders.”

Umoren is an indigene of Akwa Ibom State and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Benin.

He served in various capacities in the Akwa Ibom State Civil Service, rising to the position of Permanent Secretary.