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Imo: Declare seats of defectors vacant, PDP tells INEC

Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has called on Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to immediately declare the seats of its member-lawmakers of the Imo State House of Assembly, who defected to All Progressives Congress, APC, vacant.

The party said that by defecting to another party which played no part in their emergence as lawmakers, the defectors have lost the right to keep their plum seats and should, therefore, quit as quickly as possible.

Addressing journalists at the party’s national headquarters, yesterday, spokesman of the party, Kola Ologbondiyan, said 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 bought by personal pecuniary and political interests.

“The PDP is left with no other option than to request 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 holds that these defectors are fully aware of the grave implication of their actions to the effect that by their defection to 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 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 that ‘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.”

In a related development, the Campaign Director of Media and Strategy to Governor Hope Uzodinma, Declan Emelumba, yesterday, alleged that more of the state executive members of PDP are begging to join APC in the state.

While reacting to a statement credited to the PDP, claiming that the state lawmakers that defected to APC were offered N50 million and two plots of land each, Emelumba said the way their state chairman left PDP was the same others will abandon PDP in the state.

He said: “If it was true as claimed by the state secretary of PDP that the state government gave lawmakers N50 million and two plots of land each to defect to APC, how much was the state chairman of PDP, Charles Ezekwem, who defected recently to APC given before he joined APC? The truth of the matter is that Imo State has been and will remain an APC state.

“The mandate Imo people gave to APC in the governorship election brought about great confusion and many people out of that confusion went different ways.

“Now that the mandate has been recovered, they are coming back to where they belong and the lawmakers, the state chairman of PDP and their national officers are not excluded.

“I can tell you that even the state secretary, Ray Emeana, is not left out. As I speak, he is negotiating to join APC but there is no headway yet.

“I suspect he is feeling frustrated that he is not making much progress in his negotiations, hence his decision to vent his anger with the tissue of lies he released in the hope of drawing attention to his stalled negotiations.”

 
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