House of Representatives

By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA-The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and other members of the All Progressives Congress, APC on Tuesday fought with their emotions over the departure of 36 members of their party to other political parties.

Gbajabiamila had always, prior to now, basked in the euphoria of welcoming defectors from other political parties especially the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP without citing any court judgments or relevant sections of the constitution to that effect.

But after losing 37 members, four of whom from Oyo State went to ADC, 33 for PDP while one person precisely, Hon. Emmanuel Oker-Jev from Benue State resigned his APC membership but yet to announce a new party, Gbajabiamila stormed the House of Representatives Press Center with his colleagues to express his disappointment.

But he wouldn’t entertain any questions as he and his team exited the centre immediately, shouting “no questions”.

He said: “Ladies and gentlemen, we the members of APC caucus in the House of Representatives are here to address you and the nation at large on what transpired on the floor of the House today wherein several members of the party left and moved to different parties.

“Let me say that it is always sad when you lose even one member. Those members were part of the family. Let me say very quickly, they are also welcome back at any point in time, when they realize the errors in their ways. Let me also commend the remaining members of APC in the House who have remained steadfast, committed to the party. For me, that is what politics is all about particularly representative democracy where people elect you on a particular platform for a particular reason.

“We are all aware of the Supreme court in Amaechi’s case where the supreme court said and made it abundantly clear that in Nigeria today, it is not the person that is elected but the party that people elect. We try to build politics of ideology in this country and that why I commend our members who have remained committed to the ideology of this party. If the ideology was entrenched, we will not see people cross carpeting the way we see it in Nigeria today. In advanced democracies, hardly do you hear about such a thing. So, I commend our members for remaining steadfast, committed to the party.

“Addressing the issue raised on the floor about the legality of the cross over, I think section 68 has addressed this issue. Members on the floor from both sides of the isle tried to interpret the session the way it suits them. But unfortunately, that session has already been interpreted by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

“The meaning of division had been clearly stated by the Supreme court and the so-called R-APC that we kept on hearing today does not fall within the interpretation of the Supreme court. Therefore, we will be encouraging the party to take the necessary steps not because we are against our members but so that we van continue to entrench the democracy.

“When people elect you on a particular platform to represent them, that seat does not belong to you. That seat belongs to your constituency. So, it is important that this position is stated clearly and that we put it to rest.

“I want to say that in spite of the movement of about 36 members, 4 of whom went to ADC in Oyo State and the remainder 32 to PDP, and one resignation thereafter without a party yet, I want to say that not only does APC remains majority in the House, APC is actually in clear, overwhelming majority. I want to believe that those who wanted to defect were looking for about 60 members and they got half which leaves the APC over and beyond what is required for majority.

“Let me on behalf of my members also congratulate Mr President, the party chairman. Party leaders for remaining committed to the welfare of this country.

“I want to say again that we will continue to do the bidding of the people. Every four years, we witness this. They say survival is the first instinct of every human being, so every four-year, everybody is in search of a ticket. I believe that is the bottom line here and that is very unfortunate.

“But having said that, I want to declare here to every member that remained including the Speaker and his deputy and the leadership of the house on the side of APC who remain with us, that we will continue to do what we are elected to do by our constituencies.”

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