The inauguration delay drama of a member of the House of Representatives, Mrs. Dorothy Mato, ended on Tuesday, as the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, finally administered oath on her.
Mato, a member of the All Progressives Congress, was pronounced as the replacement for a former Chairman, House Committee on Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Herman Hembe, by the Supreme Court.
The apex court had sacked Hembe on June 23 in a judgement in which it declared Mato as the validly-elected member to represent Vandeikiya/Konshisha Federal Constituency of Benue State.
The court had also ordered Hembe to return all the salaries he was paid since 2015 to the National Assembly.
“Where is the woman? If she is not ready, we will do it tomorrow”,
However, for over three months, Dogara did not inaugurate the lawmaker as the House made one excuse or the other to delay the exercise.
House spokesman, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, blamed the delay on “documentation,” while at another instance, Mato was accused of not “presenting herself” for the inauguration.
The drama took an added turn on September 20, when the apex court again affirmed the sacking of Hembe in another ruling.
The former lawmaker had gone back to the court to seek a review of the sacking, particularly the directive to return the salaries that he received since 2015.
But, the court again ruled that he had been sacked and must return the salaries.
Findings by The PUNCH showed that following the September 20 development, Dogara came under pressure to inaugurate the member to avoid a planned protest by pro-Mato elements to the National Assembly.
Hembe is considered among members to be close to the leadership of the House, having worked for its emergence on June 9, 2015.
At Tuesday’s inauguration, there was still an interesting drama on the floor.
As soon as Dogara settled down on his chair for the day’s proceedings to start, he asked for Mato and found out that she was not in the chambers.
“Where is the woman? If she is not ready, we will do it tomorrow”, the speaker said impatiently.
But, Mato, who was still outside the chambers at the time, had not been directed by officials on how she would get into the chambers.
She eventually entered the chambers and was inaugurated by Dogara.
A few members clapped for her as she took the oath and was shown to her seat. Dogara shook hands with her, smiling a little before quickly calling out the next item on the Order Paper for proceedings.
Mato hurried off after the session, declining to make any post-inauguration comments