By Lateef Ibrahim
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to, without further delay, declare the seats of its elected members in the Imo State House of Assembly, who recently defected to the governing All Progressives Congress, APC, in the State.
The PDP said this yesterday in Abuja at a press conference addressed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
By defecting to a party which played no part in their emergence as lawmakers, the PDP reasoned that the defectors have lost the right to keep their plum seats and should therefore quit as quickly as possible.
According to Ologbondiyan, 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 ainterests.”
The PDP, Ologbondiyan maintained, “is 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.
Continuing, the National Publicity Secretary said, “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.
“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 losses 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 ‘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”, he said.