A credibility crisis has hit the Senate over the swearing in of two different persons to represent a single senatorial district.
Two persons – General Mohammed A. Garba (retd.) and Malam Mustapha Sani Mohammed, both of the All Progressives Congress, APC, are laying claim to the Niger South Senatorial District seat.
While Garba was sworn in as the senator representing the district on June 9, Mustapha was last Wednesday sworn in by Senate President Bukola Saraki for the same seat.
According to findings, the controversy over Garba and Mustapha’s candidacy in the APC began from their constituency during the nomination for the contest of the senatorial seat.
Malam Mustapha was first nominated as the APC candidate, but when his membership of the party was challenged, his name was reportedly substituted with that of Garba, who went on to win the election and was sworn in at the senate’s inauguration.
However, Garba’s claim to the seat was already a matter for the courts as his rival insisted that he was the legally elected senator, since he was the original nominee of the party.
The swearing in of Mustapha has now created a legal logjam as there is no court order declaring the seat of Garba vacant.
But the Special Adviser on Legal and Constitutional Matters to the Senate President, Barrister Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi, said the confusion was created by a lack of information from the judiciary.
According to El-Sudi, the senate was not given adequate information on the issue in good time and that the case is now being investigated.
“Before Mustapha was sworn in, we wrote to the Supreme and appeals courts, asking whether there was application on the senatorial district. The Supreme Court replied (to) our letter on the 7th August, the following day after we wrote to them”, he explained.
“The Supreme Court said there was no any pending application, but the appeals court did not reply (to) our letter until on 12th of this month, just hours after Mustapha has been sworn in.
“It was the appeals court that told us that there was a pending application on the seat. We acted because we thought nothing was pending”, he noted.