Defection in Rivers: PDP Urges INEC to Conduct Fresh Election, Insists Seat of Lawmakers Now Vacant

 

Nigeria’s opposition political party, the P The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to commence processes for conducting fresh elections into the 27 seats “vacated” by some lawmakers in Rivers State.

 

The position of the party follows the earlier defection of the 27 lawmakers said to be loyal to the former governor of the state and Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Nyesom Wike.

 

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, the PDP posited that “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.”

 

Mr. Wike and his successor, Mr. Simi Fubara have been locked in a political war over who controls the party structure in the oil-rich state.

Wike has insisted that he “had spent years to build the party structure in the state and would not allow anyone to hijack it.”

 

The full statement reads:

 

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demands that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should immediately commence the process of conducting fresh elections into the 27 State Constituencies in Rivers State which have become vacant by reason of the defection of the 27 former State lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

The PDP asserts that by defecting from the PDP, the political Party platform on which they were elected into the Rivers State 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).

 

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.

 

The PDP therefore demands that the Speaker of the Rivers State House Assembly immediately comply with the provision of the Constitution by declaring the seats of the 27 former lawmakers vacant.

 

In view of the vacancy now exiting in the 27 State Constituencies in Rivers State, the PDP demands that INEC should within the stipulated period under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) conduct fresh election to fill the vacancies.

 

Our Party cautions that the former lawmakers should stop parading themselves as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly as such would amount to impersonation with serious criminal consequences.

 

The PDP commends the people of Rivers State for their steadfastness and loyalty to Democracy and Rule of Law especially at this time.

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