There have been heated arguments on what happens if an elected federal lawmaker dies before taking an oath of office — a constitutional development that creates more speculation on the electoral process.
In recent development, a House of Representatives member-elect, Isma’ila Maihanchi died, a few weeks to taking an oath of office. Mr Maihanchi was elected to represent Jalingo, Yerro, and Zing Federal Constituency of Taraba state during the 25 February National Assembly election.
TRIBUNE ONLINE reviews the new Electoral Act of 2022 which states what happens next, in case of the demise of an elected lawmaker.
Checks by our reporter revealed the 2022 Electoral Act only made provisions for the following categories:
(a) President-elect (Section 34)
(b) Governor-elect (Section 34)
(c) Chairman-elect (Section 107)
For legislative offices (State Assembly and National Assembly), the 2022 Electoral Act is silent on this matter. However, the provision of the constitution remains that if a legislative seat becomes vacant, an election will be conducted 30 days after the vacancy occurs.
When contacted, a legal practitioner and House of Representatives candidate for Bwari/AMAC, Juliet Ikhayere, said if a candidate for a legislative seat dies, a “bye-election” will be conducted by INEC to fill the position.
It be recalled the House of Representatives in 2021, had proposed a bill to amend the 1999 Constitution to allow a political party to nominate the successor of a member of the National Assembly or State House of Assembly who dies.
The bill, which was sponsored by a member of the Peoples Democratic Party from Taraba, Rimamnde Kwewum, is yet to be assented to.