Panic in PDP as APC becomes majority party in House of Reps •22 Senators, 57 Reps get court order to retain seats

Posted by News Express | 19 December 2013 | 4,071 times

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Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been badly shaken by its sudden status as a minority party in the country’s lower parliament. The change of fortune came yesterday when 37 PDP members in House of Representatives announced their defection to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which automatically assumed the position of majority party in the House with 171 members while PDP, hitherto in the majority with 208 members, now has 167 members. 

Fuming over the development, PDP National Publicity Secretary Olisa Metuh said in a statement issued in Abuja, the Nigerian capital: “The defection, if confirmed to be true, is treacherous and a huge betrayal not only of the PDP but millions of voters who worked timelessly hard for their election on the platform of the PDP in their respective constituencies.

“As lawmakers, the defectors must no doubt be aware of provisions of section 68 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) which clearly states conditions upon which a member of the legislature will change platforms. The section stipulated that a lawmaker who defected to another party will lose his seat, except he or she is able to prove that his former party has been factionalised.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the courts of our land have declared that the PDP is ONE and not bedevilled by any factions. Any member of the National or State Assemblies who therefore renounces his membership of a UNITED PDP must be ready to face the consequences of defection in line with provisions of the Constitution.

“The PDP condemns what is fast unfolding as a desperate attempt by selfish politicians to cause confusion in our body polity. We wish to assure all our members and supporters nationwide that the PDP remains unshaken by the departure of Fifth Columnists. We shall undoubtedly emerge stronger and more cohesive after these events.”

PDP’s threat to deal with the defectors however appeared to be hollow following a ruling, also yesterday, by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, which granted the prayer of 22 Senators and 57 House of Reps members seeking leave of the court to restrain Senate President David Mark and House of Reps Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from declaring their seats vacant on account of their defection from PDP to APC.

PDP had gone to court to seek an order to declare the seats of the lawmakers vacant but

Justice A.R. Mohammed, after hearing from counsel to the plaintiffs, directed that the 2nd and 3rd defendants (Mark and Tambuwal) should be asked to maintain status quo on any proposed deliberation to declare the seats of the affected and interested plaintiffs vacant pending the hearing and determination of the plaintiffs’ motion for interlocutory injunction.

He adjourned the suit to January 22 for hearing of the plaintiffs’ motion dated November 28, 2013 for interlocutory injunction.

PDP’s new status as a minority party in the House of reps became sealed Speaker Tambuwal read a letter by the intending defectors to the members in the Chamber. Dated December 18, 2013 and entitled “Communication of Change of Political Party”, the letter read:

“We, the undersigned members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), wish to inform you that we have joined the All Progressives Congress (APC).

“This action is as a result of the division/faction in the political party that sponsored our election into the House of Representatives. (see House Resolution No: HR/36/2013, vide votes and proceedings of Tuesday, 17 September, 2013 as attached).

“Furthermore, we write to inform you that following this division, the faction of the PDP, which we belong to, has formally merged with the All Progressives Congress, APC.

“This communication is made pursuant to Section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, for your information, guidance and records, please.

In all, 11 members from Kano, Sokoto (10), Rivers (eight), Kwara (six) and one each from Katsina and Bauchi defected to the APC.

From Kano State are: Nasir G. Sule, Ahmad A. Zarewa, Aliyu Sani Madaki, Bashir Babale, Alhassan Ado, Munir Dan’ Agundi, Aminu Suleiman, Abudulmumin Jibrin, Musa Ado, Musthapha Bala and Mukthari Mohammed.

Those from Sokoto State are: Kabiru Marafa Achida, Aminu Shagari, Isa Salihipu Bashir, Abdulahi Mohammed Wamako, Saadu Nabunkari, Aliyu Shehu, Shuaibu Gobir, Musa Sarkin-Adar, Abdullahi Balarabe and Umar Bature.

From Rivers State are: Andrew Uchendu, Asita Honourable, Sokonte Davies, Dakuku Peterside, Mpigi Barinada, Pronen Maurice, Dawari George and Ogbonna Nwuke.

Kwara State has on its list: Ali Ahmad, Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo, Aiyedun Akeem Olayinka, Mustafa Moshood, Aliyu Ahman-Pategi and Zakari Mohammed.

Two other members, Nasiru Sani from Katsina State and Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi, were also on the list.

They all wrote their names in their handwriting and signed with the proviso at the top of the pages that states: “We the undersigned hereby certify that we have perfected all arrangements to move from PDP to APC, today 28 November, 2013”, showing that the defection had been planned for an earlier date.

•Photo shows PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.

Source: News Express

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