From Ahmad Ibrahim, Lokoja
The Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mathew Kolawole has declared the seat of the member representing Lokoja 1 Constituency in the state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Umar Imam vacant, following the defection of the lawmaker from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Imam had defected to the Social Democratic Party few weeks ago to contest in the House of Representatives bye election for Lokoja/ Kogi Federal Constituency this week.
Deliberating on a motion by the majority leader, Hon. Hassan Balogun and a letter from the state chairman of All Progressives Congress, Hon. Abdullahi Bello, the house was sharply divided in arriving at a position on the thorny matter.
The speaker, however, subsequently declared the seat of Hon. Imam vacant after applying voice votes to arrive at a position, even as some of the members vehemently opposed the decision.
Speaking shortly to newsmen, the speaker, Rt. Hon. Mathew Kolawole said they were guided by the law in deciding the matter, even as he described the position as a tough one.
He disclosed that the former speaker never gave reason for defecting in a letter he sent to the house, shortly after dumping the APC, saying if anything, he only informed them he was contesting for this Saturday national assembly poll.
He disclosed that they would soon write the electoral umpire, INEC on the development with a view to conducting a bye election in the constituency, even as he enjoined Hon. Imam to approach the court if he felt aggrieved over the matter.