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SENATE REFUSES TO INAUGURATE IGBEKE

By NBF NEWS
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Alphonsus Igbeke
The Senate on Thursday refused to inaugurate Mr. Alphonsus Igbeke as senator representing Anambra North, despite last Wednesday's judment of the Court of Appeal in Enugu.

The appeal court had ordered the Senate to inaugurate Igbeke because he and not the incumbent, Senator Joy Emodi of the Peoples Democratic Party, won the April 2007 election.

Igbeke had arrived at the Senate lobby at about noon, seeking the permission of the President of the Senate, David Mark, to be ushered into the chambers.

At the time, the Senate was considering a motion on the power outages at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

When the news of Igbeke's arrival filtered into the Senate, some members of the opposition, particularly Senator Bukar Ibrahim, drew the attention of Mark to it.

But Mark and the Clerk of the Senate obviously signified to the senator that it might be impossible to inaugurate him because the Senate had concluded the business of the day.

Ibrahim later came out to tell Igbeke that the Senate could not conduct the swearing-in because he came a little late, but would possibly conduct it on Tuesday next week.

But speaking to journalists later, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Information, Senator Ayogu Eze, said the Senate had received a notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court by Emodi against Wednesday's judgment.

According to him, the Senate had accepted the notice of appeal, in accordance with its Order 53 (5), which forbids it from taking any decision on matters pending in court.

He confirmed that the Senate would maintain the status quo, which implies that Emodi will continue to remain until the apex court disposes off the case.

He said, 'We have been given a notice that a case has been filed at the Supreme Court contesting that order by the Appeal Court.

'We are duty bound to observe the notice that was served on us, that this matter is being challenged at the Supreme Court.

'That our order, 53 (5) says that when a judicial decision is pending on any matter, the Senate cannot discuss or take action on that matter in any manner that will prejudice the ultimate outcome of the judicial decision that is pending. Now that matter is a matter in court and I think this is the much I can say for now so that I don't commit contempt of the court.'