The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has told lawmakers in Imo State who recently defected from the party to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to vacate their seats.
The party in an official reaction to the defection on Wednesday said the defectors have automatically lost their seats as representatives of the people.
News Nigeria recalls the Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly, Dr. Collins Chiji on Tuesday, defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Chiji while announcing his defection on the floor of the House, also announced the defection of seven other lawmakers from the PDP to the APC.
Before then, nine lawmakers on Tuesday, January 21, 2019, also dumped the PDP for the APC shortly after the Supreme Court judgment which sacked Emeka Ihedioha of PDP as governor of the state and installed Hope Uzodinma in his place.
Charles Ezekwem, the Imo State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had also announced his resignation from the party.
Reacting to the series of defection from the party, the national leadership of the PDP in a statement on Wednesday through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Olongbodiyan said those who defected to the ruling All progressive Congress, APC, have lost their seats as representative of the people in Imo state.
Citing section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the PDP said that “the vacation of seat, is a direct consequence of defecting to another political party other than the party upon which one was elected to occupy a seat in the legislature, which is clear and unambiguous under the 1999 constitution as amended.
The statement further stated that: “The PDP describes such action of defection as unpatriotic and an unpardonable betrayal of the people of their respective constituencies who chose and identified with the ideal and visions of the PDP as the platform for their representation at the state assembly”.
“The defectors have indeed shown absolute lack of character, failure of leadership capacity in moments of challenges and absence of faith to stand with the people in their most trying moment but are easily dissuaded by pecuniary and political interests”.
” We believe that these defectors are fully aware of the grave implication of their actions to the effect that by their defection to the APC, they have automatically lost their seats and membership of the Imo state House of Assembly as they can only hold such position on the mandate of the party on which they were elected; the PDP.
“It is settled under the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that a legislator who decamps from a party upon which he was elected a member of a legislative house automatically loses his or her membership of that house as the seat belongs to the political party upon which platform the election was won and not the individual”.
“The vacation of the seat, as a direct consequence of decamping to another political party other than the party upon which one was elected to occupy a seat in the legislature, is clear and unambiguous under section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended)”.
“For the avoidance of doubt, section 109 (1)(g) provides that “a member of the House of Assembly SHALL VACATE his seat in the House if …(g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.
“The Constitution went further to state “provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”
Consequent upon the above constitutional provisions, these defectors have vacated their seats, they no longer have a place in the state assembly, as there is no division or merger of any kind in the PDP at any level whatsoever.
The PDP, therefore, called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence the process of conducting fresh elections into the seats vacated by the defecting lawmakers.
“The PDP is therefore left with no other option than to request the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately commence the processes for the conduct of fresh elections into the respective state constituencies where the legislators have vacated their seats, in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
“The PDP calls on our teeming members and supporters in Imo state to remain calm and focused at this trying time as the national leadership proceeds with arrangements ahead of fresh elections in the affected constituencies”.
It added that it has commenced the process of obtaining a review of the Supreme Court judgment which sacked Ihedioha as Imo State Governor.
“Moreover, the national leadership assures the people of Imo state that processes are already on towards achieving a judicial review and reversal of the defective judgment of the Supreme Court, on the Imo state”.