Supporters of Dorathy Mato, who was declared winner of the Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituency of Benue state and ordered to be sworn-in by the Supreme Court protested yesterday as Speaker Yakubu Dogara declined to swear in the member-elect.
The Supreme Court had on June 23, sacked Herman Hembe, who was the chairman, House Committee on FCT and also ordered him to return all salaries collected since June 2005 within 90 days.
But at yesterday’s plenary, Mato who said she had completed her documentation and presented certificate of return left dejected with her supporters as Speaker Dogara did not administer oath on her.
Speaking to the press after the plenary, a representative of her constituents, Hon. Mati Maureen Acka decried the manner their representative was treated disclosing that the constituents were unhappy with the actions of the speaker.
She said “We all came in anticipation of this and they kept us waiting and dillydallying, ‘wait we are coming’, everything, processes are just mumble jumbled, at the end of it they said we wait we are in plenary session. We all waited patiently, only for them to come out and nothing happened and we are wondering.”
According to her, “she (Mato) has done everything that is required to have been done. I just pray and hope that it is not some kind of a game because it will not be right. I’m APC, I was ACN before APC, I’m a politician, she’s been a politician, she’s a right honourable, we know the law, we are hopeful that women will be carried along.
The spokesperson alleged that the failure of the speaker to swear in their representative was an intimidation of the women folk.
“This issue of women gender equality, empowerment and all of that, you intimidate us, we swim, we manage to swim across, when we swim we get victory at the court, you now want to shove us back to drown.
“We have come to the right quarters where victory is to be sealed, but we are trusting that the speaker and every other person will do the right thing. What is the problem here today?
Continuing Acka explained that “She was manipulated out of the election, just as I was by this same person (Hembe) whom God gave victory against him. I’m rejoicing with her and the women and they are truncating our victory. There is no tangible reason that has been given”.
In a swift reaction to the allegation, Abdulrazak Namdas, chairman, House Comittee on Media and Public Affairs who dismissed the allegation argued that the female lawmaker will be sworn-in after due process.
He said “It is not true that because she is a woman that we have refused to or the speaker has refused her in that is not true. In my state, a colleague of mine from Adamawa state court appeal ruled and he lost his seat and a woman replaced him, her name Talatu was sworn in immediately.
“So you can see it is not an issue of gender and I know that as a matter of fact, if there is any pronouncement by the court, they are also some processes you have to undergo in the house before you are sworn-in.
“I’m not aware that has been done, I have to look at it and I can tell you that if all the right choices have been fulfilled, I don’t think there is any reason that she will not be sworn in.
“But the truth is that as far as I’m concerned there are certain processes that you have to go here before you get sworn-in, if not people can just come from the market, so some due process must be followed and if those process are followed, you will be there to report it”
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja