Tue. May 21st, 2024

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised members of the Rivers’ House of Assembly who defeated to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to “admit their political miscalculation and bear the inescapable consequences.”

The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Debo Ologunagba, in Abuja on Saturday insisted that the 27 lawmakers had lost their membership of the state legislative house upon defection from the party.

Ologunagba said that the former members of the state’s assembly, for reasons best known to them, wittingly vacated and summarily lost their seats.

He said that nothing in the provision of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria protects or allows the lawmakers to retain their membership of the assembly after defecting from the political party upon which they were elected.

“These former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have only themselves to blame for constitutionally vacating their seats; a course which cannot be reversed or remedied.

“They should admit their miscalculation and bear the inescapable consequences.

“This is especially so as the Supreme Court, in the case of Abegunde vs Ondo State House of Assembly and Others, has since clarified and affirmed the import of the provision In Section 109(1)(g) in validating the automatic vacation of a seat by a member of a legislative house who defected from the party upon which he was elected into that House,” he said.

Ologunagba cautioned the APC to steer clear of Rivers and perish the thoughts of forcefully taking over the state.

He also advised the ruling opposition party in the state to come to terms that with the vacation of seats by the former lawmakers, the quorum of the state House of Assembly would be determined by the number of the remaining lawmakers as provided by law.

He said that would continue untill a by-election is conducted to fill the vacancies now existing in the state’s House of Assembly as a result of the defection by the former members.

“It is indeed pathetic for the APC to think that the facts and true import of Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to the effect that the former lawmakers have since lost their seats can be muddled and lost in litigations and lengthy press statements.

“Interestingly, in the failed bid to subvert the constitution to give the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly a lifeline, the APC ended up admitting the clarity of the provision of Section 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in voiding their seats upon their defection.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 109 (1)(g) of the Constitution is clear in providing that;

“A member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if – 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 expiration of the period for which that house was elected:

“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,” he said.

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