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N'Assembly: Rep Protests As Tambuwal Plans To Swear-In Opponent

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ABUJA, March 18, (THEWILL) –Indications have emerged that the Speaker, House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, may swear in one time national president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Tony Nwoye, as representative of Anambra West/East of Anambra State.

But the member representing the constituency, Hon. Chriscato Ameke, is protesting, saying the Speaker cannot swear in anybody to take over his seat because the matter has to be decided by the Supreme Court, insisting that it is a pre-election matter.

According to Ameke, he cannot vacate the seat because, judgement on the matter has been reserved and there is no need blackmailing the House leadership into swearing in his opponent. According to Ameke’s camp, “every election matter is going to terminate in the Supreme Court and the case of Ameke cannot be an exception, so we urge Tony Nwoye to be patient if he thinks he has any case at all”

He also argued that since there is a pending appeal and motion for stay of execution on the judgement that declared Nwoye winner, the Speaker as a lawyer and law abiding citizen should not and will not oblige the request and pressure from Nwoye to be sworn in unless the motion is discharged.

A principal officer who confirmed this to our correspondent yesterday said the speaker has decided that in line with the advice of the clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Kasuwa, the head of litigation and counselling, Mr. Saleh Abubakar, as well as report of an independent panel set up by him, he will swear in Nwoye.

But a principal officer of the House told our correspondent that, “I can confirm to you that Dr. Tony Nwoye will be sworn in on Tuesday by the Speaker. You know, the Speaker is a lawyer and he has studied the contents of all the judgements and has concluded that he will swear in Nwoye on Tuesday .

"In fact, Mr. Speaker has promised that in compliance with the House Legislative Agenda, which preaches rule of law, he cannot be party to a travesty of justice".

Nwoke, a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Anambra State had challenged the inauguration of Hon. Chriscato Ameke as member representing the constituency arguing that he did not participate in the April, 2011 elections.

He was declared winner by the Federal High Court Awka, on July 13, 2012 and INEC issued him with Certificate of Return on July 16, but since then he has been battling to take over the seat from Hon. Ameke. Only last Thursday, Speaker Tambuwal told Nwoye to give him three days to sort out the matter.

But briefing the press on Monday on his frustration at being sworn in, Nwoye appealed to Tambuwal, whom he described as “a father” to swear him in as ordered by the court and complied with by INEC in the issuance of a certificate of return. He added that it is clear that he is the rightful winner of the election.

Citing the Supreme Court judgement in Prince John Emeka Vs Lady Margery Okadigbo, Nwoye said that the primaries conducted by Senator JKN Waku was the one recognised and it was based on this that Senator Okadigbo was sworn , maintaining that his case was similar.

According to the judgement, “a primary conducted by the state chapter of the PDP is not a primary; it is an illegal contraption that carries with it no rights. It is a complete nullity. The primaries conducted on the 8th of January 2011 was conducted by the National Executive Committee of the PDP and it was the only authentic primaries conducted by the PDP to choose its candidate for the Anambra North Senatorial seat”.

Nwoye also disclosed that apart from the advice from the legal department of the National Assembly, a four-man committee set up by the speaker to study the matter also recommended that he be sworn in.

"Two months ago, the Speaker set up a four-man panel made up of the minority whip, Samson Osagie, his special adviser (legal), Hon. Chile Igbawua and chief of staff to deputy speaker, Hon. CID Maduabum and they came out with a report that failure to swear me in would amount to contempt of court. So, it is clear that my opponent has no case”, he stated.

It will be recalled that Nwoye and his supporters stormed the National Assembly last Thursday hoping he would be sworn in but the speaker put off the event requesting for a few days to make further consultations.