The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said its members in Imo State House of Assembly that defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have lost their seats as state lawmakers.
The Speaker of the Imo State Assembly, Collins Chiji and seven other members of the PDP on Tuesday dumped the party for the APC. Some members of the party had earlier done the same also.
But in a statement on Wednesday, the PDP said it “received reports that some members of the Imo State House of Assembly elected on the platform of our great party, have decided to abdicate the mandate they hold on the pedestal of our party, to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC), ostensibly for their very selfish gains.”
It said the action of the members was 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 an 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 holds 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.”
The statement signed by the party’s national spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said the case of the defectors was “settled under 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 statement further said, “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 party said.
It added that it was now 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.
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