Akwashiki says the Supreme Court pronouncement did not affect Degi-Eremienyo's senatorial status.

The Senate has explained why Senator Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo remains a lawmaker despite the judgement of the Supreme Court annulling his election as Deputy Governor-elect of Bayelsa State over ‘certificate forgery.’

Degi-Eremienyo was denied the chance to become the Deputy Governor of the state on the eve of inauguration following the verdict of the apex court that he presented fake documents to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Explaining why the senate has not bothered to sack him over the fake certificate issue, spokesman for the Senate, Godiya Akwashiki, said the Supreme Court pronouncement did not affect his senatorial status.

Spokesman for the Senate, Senator Godiya Akwashiki says lawmakers can't sack Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, the Deputy Governor-elect in Bayelsa because the Supreme Court judgement that sacked him does not affect his senatorial status. (Guardian)
Spokesman for the Senate, Senator Godiya Akwashiki says lawmakers can't sack Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, the Deputy Governor-elect in Bayelsa because the Supreme Court judgement that sacked him does not affect his senatorial status. (Guardian)

Akwashiki explained further that the process of recalling senators could only start if they were dead, had a recall demand from their constituency or through a court pronouncement directing INEC to withdraw their certificate of return, Punch reports.

He said, “The process of declaring somebody’s seat vacant is in three stages based on the provisions of the law.

“It is either by death; If his constituents demand his recall, or if any court of law, (tribunal, appeal, or Supreme Court), ordered that INEC should withdraw their certificate of return.

“In this situation, the judgment did not say anything about his (Degi-Eremienyo’s) senatorial seat.

“The judgment only addressed the issue of the Bayelsa State governorship election.

“Also in the case of Degi-Eremienyo, he has not taken any oath of allegiance.

“The oath of allegiance that he took in the Senate still subsists since the Supreme Court did not mention his seat at the Senate in its judgment.

“For now, the Senate cannot do anything about his seat. He is still, a democratically elected member of the Senate.”

Nigerian lawmakers during a plenary session. (Punch)
Nigerian lawmakers during a plenary session. (Punch)

Another lawmaker, who spoke to the Punch on the matter on condition of anonymity said, the Senate has no power to sack Degi-Eremienyo on account of certificate forgery.

“Is there any provision in the constitution that says the National Assembly should send a letter of recall to INEC because a senator allegedly presented a forged certificate to contest election?

“The seat of a lawmaker can only be declared vacant by court pronouncement, by recall or by death.

Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan had called for the seats of Bayelsa state governor, Douye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo to be declared vacant.

The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan recently called for the declaration of Bayelsa state governor, Douye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo seats in the senate vacant. (Premium Times)
The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan recently called for the declaration of Bayelsa state governor, Douye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo seats in the senate vacant. (Premium Times)

Justifying Lawan’s decision Akwashiki said, declaring their seats vacant is necessary because the duo, who had earlier taken oaths as serving senators have now taken another oaths as governor and deputy governor of Bayelsa State.

Akwashiki said Lawan’s decision is justified because “both Duoye and Ewhrudjakpo cannot take oaths of office twice.”