Itsekiri Group Demands Adherence to Legal 10 Wards in Warri South Amidst INEC’s Delineation Debate

Warri – Following the Supreme Court’s directive for ward delineation in Warri South Local Government Area (LGA), the Itsekiri Interest Group convened a press briefing at the Merrick Lori Cultural Center on Ajaminmogha Road. During the briefing, they issued a strong warning to both the INEC Commissioner of Delta State and the Electoral Officer (EO) of INEC in Warri South LGA. The group underscored the serious consequences of ignoring the court’s orders concerning ward delineation

The group, according to a release signed by Mr. Gbubemi Awala, and Comdr Weyinmi Yalaju, Chairman and Secretary of the group, pointed out that both the Federal High Court in 2003 and the Federal Court of Appeal in Benin had declared the 12-ward structure established in 1997 as illegal. According to the Constitution, ward delineation should involve the creation of new wards from existing ones, considering factors like landmass and population. This process should not involve merging or transferring wards across Local Government Constituencies.

Key concerns raised by the Itsekiri Interest Group regarding a recent Supreme Court judgment include:

  1. Ward delineation should occur simultaneously across all 774 local governments in Nigeria every decade.
  2. The Supreme Court affirmed that INEC is overdue for a new ward delineation.
  3. INEC’s formula for ward delineation was not endorsed by the Supreme Court. The established rules for creating new wards should remain unchanged.
  4. The Supreme Court did not recognize any ward structure in Warri South outside the legally approved 10-ward structure as the benchmark for fresh delineation.
  5. INEC’s discussions with stakeholders did not indicate any tribe was marginalized, suggesting that new wards should only be created in qualifying areas. Therefore, Urhobos in Sapele, Uvwie, Ethiope West, etc., should not engage with INEC without Itsekiri Community Leaders from the respective local governments.
  6. Uniformity in ward creation is expected, ensuring an equal share for all stakeholders. Consequently, no single group should anticipate having more wards than the Itsekiri in Warri South, Warri North, or Warri South West.

“The onus lies on INEC to uphold the legal standards set for ward delineation”, the group further avered.

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