Dorathy Mato, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, whom the supreme court declared as the representative of Vandeikya/Konshisha federal constituency of Benue state, shed tears on Thursday after Yakubu Dogara, the speaker of the house of reps, allegedly refused to swear her in.
On June 23, the apex court held that Herman Hembe, former chairman of the house committee on the federal capital terittory (FCT), did not win the ruling party’s ticket to represent the constituency.
The court also ordered Hembe to refund all the salaries and allowances he had earned in two years.
On Thursday, Mato came to the lower legislative chamber with the expectation that she would be sworn in but the speaker did not administer the oath of office on her.
Disappointed, the emotionally troubled woman could not entertain questions from journalists.
But Maureen Acka, a lawmaker from the Benue state house of assembly, who accompanied her, spoke on behalf of Mato’s supporters.
She said Mato was a victim of alleged manipulation by Hembe, wondering why the woman was not sworn in after “fulfilling all the requirements”.
“We all came in anticipation of this but they kept dilly-dallying,” she said.
“They asked to wait that they were coming and we all waited patiently, only for them to come out and nothing happened. Papers have been filled, and she has done all the things required of her. This is really strange… I just pray and hope that this is not some kind of a game because it will not be right. We know the law.
“I’m a member of the APC. I was in ACN before… she (Mato) is a honourable person…”
Acka said it would be bad if the case turned out being a case of gender discrimination.
She appelaed to Dogara “and every other person involved” to do the right thing.
“This issue of women’s gender equality, empowerment and all of that, you intimidate us but we survived. We managed to swim across, when we swam, we got victory at the court, you now want to shove us back to drown?” she asked.
“We have come to the right quarters where victory is to be sealed… We are trusting the speaker and every other person involved will do the right thing. What is the problem here today? There is no tangible reason that has been given.”
Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesman of the house, told journalists that if Mato had met the requirements, she would have been sworn in.
He also ruled out the possiblilty of gender discrimination.
“It’s not true that the speaker has refused to swear her in because she is a woman,” he said.
“A colleague of mine from Adamawa state lost his seat after a court of appeal ruling. He was replaced by a woman named Talatu, she was sworn in immediately.
“So, you can see it is not an issue of gender bias. I know, as a matter of fact, that if there is any pronouncement by the court, there are also some processes you have to undergo in the house before you are sworn in.
“I’m not aware that that has been done. I have to look at it well. If all the necessary things have been done, I don’t think there is any reason that she will not be sworn in.”