Deaths: Vacant seats in Senate hit six


Six senatorial districts in the country are currently not being represented in the National Assembly, findings have revealed.

Two senators from Bayelsa State left in February following their governorship election victory in Bayelsa State while four senators died between December 2019 and June 2020.

The senatorial districts currently without representation as a result of death are Imo North, represented by the late Benjamin Uwajumogu; Plateau South, represented by the late Ignatius Longjan; Cross River North, represented by the late Rose Oko and Lagos East, represented by the late Bayo Osinowo.

Uwajumogu, who died at 51 on December 18, 2019, was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity. He died after attending plenary the previous day, where he made contributions to some debates in the Chamber.

Longjan reportedly died at a Turkish hospital in the nation’s capital on Sunday, February 9, 2020, while Oko died on Monday March 23, 2020, at a medical facility in the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, the two other vacant seats are Bayelsa Central and Bayelsa West, previously occupied respectively by the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri and his deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo. They both left the Senate to resume their new assignments.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed October 31 for bye-elections for some vacant federal and state legislative houses.

Affected senatorial districts lost out in constituency projects – CSOs say

Meanwhile, two civil society groups which spoke to our correspondent on the issue on Friday, lamented that the senatorial districts had been deprived of their fair share of constituency development projects in the 2020 budget.

The Director, YIAGA Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, said since the affected senatorial districts had no voice in the Senate for eight months, they did not benefit from the constituency projects approved for lawmakers.

He said, “The development has deprived the constituents of adequate representation which is not what democracy conceptualises because those people deserve a voice in how the 2020 budget will have an impact on their lives.”

Also, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani, said it was unfortunate that a large number of Nigerians were not represented in the nation’s parliament for eight months.

He said, “The constituents in the affected senatorial Districts have lost their voice in the national discourse. They have been shortchanged in terms of constituency projects because there was nobody to plead their cause during the consideration of the 2020 budget.”

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