By Idowu Bankole
The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Wednesday has said that those who defected to the ruling All progressive Congress, APC, have lost their seats as representative of the people in Imo state. The party made the statement after the leadership said it received some reports that some members elected on the party’s platform have defected to the ruling All progressive Congress, APC.
In a statement released by the People’s Democratic party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Olongbodiyan, obtained by Vanguard, The Leadership of the party said it has received reports that some members of the Imo state House of Assembly elected on the platform of the PDP, have decided to abdicate the mandate they hold on the pedestal of the Peoples Democratic Party, to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC), ostensibly for their very selfish gains.
Citing section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the PDP said that “the vacation of seat, is a direct consequence of defecting to another political party other than the party upon which one was elected to occupy a seat in the legislature, which is clear and unambiguous under the 1999 constitution as amended.
The statement reads in part:
“The PDP describes such action of defection as 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 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 dissuaded by pecuniary and political interests”.
” We believe 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 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 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 PDP is therefore 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.
“The PDP calls on our teeming members and supporters in Imo state to remain calm and focused at this trying time as the national leadership proceeds with arrangements ahead of fresh elections in the affected constituencies”.
Kola Olgbondiyan stated that the national leadership of the party, assure the people of Imo state, that processes are already on towards achieving a judicial review and reversal of the judgment of the Supreme Court on Imo state.