By Christiana Ekpa
Hon. Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe, a lawmaker recently declared by the appellate courts as winner of the Cross River North Senatorial District election has said that he has confidence in the ability of the Senate President, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, to implement the Supreme Court judgement upholding his victory at the Appeal Court.
This was as the lawmaker said the National Assembly is to big and strong an institution to be taken over by any state governor for selfish gains.
Jarigbe said his opponent, Stephen Odey, who was sent to the Senate to hold forth for the state governor, Ben Ayade until 2023, has been attending Senate plenary illegally despite the decision of the Apex court which threw out his appeal challenging his (Jarigbe’s) earlier victory at the Court of Appeal.
A two-time member of the House since the 8th Assembly, Jarigbe stated these on Thursday in a chat with journalists in Abuja, saying that he believes why he has not been sworn in was because the copy of the judgement served on the National Assembly just to the table of the Senate President on Wednesday.
“The Supreme Court delivered that judgement of the 25th of February and it took us about two weeks to get the judgement signed by the judge that read the lead judgement. We have communicated that judgement to the leadership of the National Assembly through our lawyers. But it took sometimes for that file to get to the table of the Senate President. It only got to his table yesterday (Wednesday).
“There are a few people down the administrative line that decided to sit on that file for obvious reasons. With other members of the House, we moved in and spoke with the Clark to the National Assembly and sought to know why the delay. My opponent who has been ousted by the judgement of the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court is still attending plenary. That is illegal because I have the certificate of return issued to me by INEC based on the judgement of the Appeal Court which invalidated his certificate of return and that has been transmitted to the National Assembly.
“We thought that with the Supreme Court judgement, there was going to be a resolution of this matter, but someone sat on it. But the CNA has taken it upon himself yesterday to investigate what was going on. The Deputy Clark of the National Assembly and the Director, Legal have given their advice. That prompted the CNA to advise the Senate President to swear me in and that file is before the senate President and I know that he will comply with the judgement of the Supreme court.
“The fact that INEC issued me with a certificate of return means that they have complied with the judgement of the Courts and I am supposed to be sworn in. I know that the Senate President is on top of his game. I have been a parliamentarian for a couple of years and I know how it works here,” Jarigbe argued.
He said his opponent must have been deceived by how his clique manipulate things at the state level with impunity to think that he could have his way at the National Assembly, adding that “this is bastion of democracy where rule of law and those of both houses reign Supreme.
“My opponent is new and thinks that these things can be manipulated at this level. As a rooky, you can think that certain things can be done because of the way things are ran in the state. Back in Cross River state, there is so much impunity and he came here with that mentality and has been attending plenary when he is no more a Senator.
“I want the leadership of the Senate to look into this very critically. Whether or not I am sworn in immediately, the man who is attending plenary illegally should be stopped. I know and trust that the Senate Leadership will do the needful.
“This is a respected institution and I don’t see the leadership of the Senate disobeying a court judgement. We are legislators and we make law, while the Judiciary interprets and the Executive implements.
The Judiciary has interpreted the law and the Executive through INEC has implemented by issuing me a certificate of return. The leadership of the senate will obey that interpretation. I heard that the governor of Cross River state said he has moved into Abuja to stop my inauguration. This is not an extension of Cross River state. The National Assembly is an institution of its own and no amount of money in a state can take over the National Assembly”, he said.