There was a rowdy session on Thursday in the House of Representatives when two lawmakers of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) announced their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The lawmakers, Ephraim Nwuzi (Etched/Omuma Federal Constituency of Rivers), and David Abel (Gashaka/Kurmi/Sardauna Federal Constituency of Taraba) announced their defection in separate letters to Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila read during plenary.
While Nwuzi was present at plenary and officially received into the APC by House Leader, Ado Doguwa, Abel was absent.
The Speaker ruled since he was not present, his defection should be taken on the next legislative day.
However, opposition leaders and PDP members objected to the continued stay of the members in the House and asked the Speaker to declare their seats vacant.
Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, raised a constitutional order saying such defection can only be allowed if there was a crisis in the party.
He said: “The member whose letter has just be read is from Rivers State and I am aware that there is no crisis in the PDP in Rivers State. As a result of that, we are demanding that the seat be declared vacant”
Deputy Minority Leader, Tobi Okechukwu said: “This country is based on law and due process. It is clear that our colleagues who wrote to defect are simply quoting the charisma of the Speaker.
“The law says there must be a crack in the party on whose platform the member was elected and in the absence of that, such a member should lose his seat. The Speaker must obey the constitution and ask those defecting to vacate their seat”.
Leader of the PDP caucus in the House, Kingsley Chinda, said the law was very explicit on the defection of members, adding that the Speaker swore to uphold the constitution and the law.