Ohanaeze an attorney filed a lawsuit to declare Ekweremadu’s seat void as a result of satanism and evil
A lawsuit filed by Chief Ogochukwu Onyema, a lawyer and candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) nomination for the Enugu West Senatorial District in the 2019 general election, against Senator Ike Ekweremadu, a former deputy senate president, has drawn harsh responses.
According to pressloaded, Onema requested that the Enugu West Senatorial District seat, which is currently held by Ekweremadu, be declared empty in the lawsuit she filed at the Enugu branch of the Federal High Court.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the leading sociocultural organization of the Igbo people, responded to the lawsuit by labeling Onyema’s actions as demonic.
In a statement on Thursday, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, the national president of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council, said it was devilish for anyone to bring such a lawsuit against the lawmaker in light of his current difficulties.
“We find it painful that any person could concoct such a demonic and caustic lawsuit against Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
“Coming at a time when it has been made known that Senator Ekweremadu is having health issues while being held in custody, it is even more cruel. Anyone with a conscience should be able to relate to the legislator in light of these difficulties.
“Since Ekweremadu began experiencing all of these hardships, he has never showed sympathy as an Enugu West citizen whom Ekweremadu is representing.
He was left with no choice but to file a lawsuit against Ekweremadu. This validates our suspicion that there are inside enemies. There are a lot of people involved in what happened to Ekweremadu, but man is not God.
“We urge the plaintiff to drop the lawsuit right away for the sake of human conscience and future generations. Nobody is immune from health issues; anyone might experience them.
If Barr. Ogochukwu Onyema is a genuine Igbo man—who are renowned for being their brother’s keeper—then he should immediately withdraw the wicked action, said Okwu.
Also reacting, an Enugu-based legal practitioner, Evang. Chinenye Orji, faulted Onyema, saying the lawsuit flies in the face of the laws of Nigeria, including the Electoral Act, noting that Section 68 of the Constitution expressly lists the grounds and processes for declaring a Senator’s seat vacant.
He said that even if a vacancy occurs for any reason, the seat wouldn’t be inherited by anybody, as Section 76 of the Constitution provides that INEC must conduct a fresh election within 30 days to fill such vacancy.
“Section 68 (1) provides, among others, that a member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is a member if he becomes a member of another legislative house; any other circumstances arise that, if he were not a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives, would cause him to be disqualified for election as a member; he ceases to be a citizen of Nigeria; without just cause he is absent from meetings of the House of which he is a member for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-third of the total number of days during which the House meets in any one year; being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party without a division or a merger affecting the party that previously sponsored him; or the presiding officer receives a certificate under the hand of the INEC Chairman stating that the provisions of Section 69 of the Constitution in respect of the recall of a lawmaker have been complied with.
“But even at that, Section 68 (3) provides that a Senator or House member shall not be deemed to be absent without just cause from a meeting of the House unless the person presiding certifies in writing that he is satisfied that the absence of the member from the meeting was for a just cause’.
He said none of these applies to Senator Ekweremadu yet, as he had not been absent for no just cause or for one-thirds of the total number of sitting of the Senate in 2022.
“A year is 365 days, but remember that the Senate sits for only three days in a week, that is from Tuesday to Thursday. Ekweremadu was arrested in the UK around 22nd June and Senate on recess in July and returned on 20th September. So, there is no way he could be absent from session for one-thirds of the seating between now and December because the Senate will only sit for a maximum of 42 days. When you add the Christmas time, it will be much less. And if you add New Year and 2023 election recess, there is no way he could have absented himself from plenary for the remaining part of the lifespan of the Senate, which will most likely end in May 2023”, he stated.
“Besides, Onyema placed third in the said primary, not second and even if he came second, he would still not inherit Enugu West seat because the Constitution Section 76 of the 1999 provides that where a vacancy exists in the National Assembly, such vacancy shall be filled within 30 days vide an election on a date to be appointed by INEC.
“Also, the Electoral Act 2022 provides that you cannot occupy an elective position without participating in all the processes leading to the election. So, did O.A.U Onyema contest the senatorial election in 2019? The answer is ‘No’.
“We know Onyema has always wanted to be in the Senate, being a perennial senatorial aspirant. But must not be through the backdoor”, Orji concluded.