ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- After a significant defection of members from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, the PDP has instructed the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly to declare the seats of the 27 lawmakers who defected to the APC as vacant.
The PDP also asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to immediately commence the conduct of fresh elections in their constituencies.
Voiceofnaija.ng had reported that 27 lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly, led by Matthew Amaewhule, on Monday, defected to the APC. They also pledged their loyalty to Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The PDP while reacting to the development in a statement issued on Monday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, argued that by defecting to from the political party platform on which they were elected into the House of Assembly, the seats of the respective 27 former lawmakers have become vacant by virtue of the provision of Section 109 (1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
The statement pointed out: “For the avoidance of doubt, Section 109(1) of the 1999 Constitution, provides that a member of a House of Assembly, shall vacate his seat in the House if… (g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.
“By reason of the above Constitutional provision and its clear interpretation by the Supreme Court, the 27 defected members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, have vacated and lost their seats, rights, privileges, recognition, and obligations accruable to members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.”
Therefore, the PDP demanded that the Speaker of the Rivers State House Assembly immediately comply with the provisions of the Constitution by declaring the seats of the 27 former lawmakers vacant.
“In view of the vacancies now existing in the 27 state constituencies in Rivers State, the PDP demands that INEC, within the stipulated period under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), conduct fresh elections to fill the vacancies”, it added.
It further cautioned that ‘the former lawmakers’ should stop parading themselves as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, saying that failure to do so would amount to impersonation with serious criminal consequences.
The party commended the people of Rivers State, “for their steadfastness and loyalty to democracy and the rule of law, especially at this time.”