By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
The leadership of the minority caucus of the House of Representatives at Thursday yesterday asked Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila to declare vacant the Legislative seat of Hon. Sam Onuigbu vacant for dumping his political party for another one.
Onuigbu, the lawmaker representing Ikwuano/Umuahia Federal Constituency of Abia State had prior to the call announced his departure from the People’s Democratic Party PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, via a letter read by the Speaker on the floor of the House.
Hardly had Gbajabiamila finished reading the letter than Hon. Solomon Bob (PDP, Rivers) raised a point of order, objecting the defection.
He said there was no crisis to necessitate Onuigbu’s exit.
He said: “Mr Speaker, I know that you a leader and you know what to do. What we are doing here is nothing but tramping on the constitution we swore to protect.
“If somebody writes to you claiming he was leaving the party that sponsored him to this house because of crisis, it is your responsibility to Investigate that before accepting his letter’.
in the same vein, the House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu asked the House to invoke the provisions of section 68 and declare the seat vacant, pointing out that the claim of a crisis within the PDP was false.
Elumelu said the National Organising Secretary of the PDP hails from the same local government with Hon. Onuigbo, saying “there can never be a crisis in the party there. What we are doing is wrong and so, we should declare the seat vacant”.
However, addressing Elumelu, the Speaker said “some years ago, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House decamped to the PDP. Did you ask for their seats to be declared vacant? Now, that former Speaker has left the PDP and rejoined the APC. Are you saying I should declare his seat vacant?
Similarly, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu said the spirit and letters of the constitution were sacrosanct and should be respected, saying “Onuigbo has taken a dangerous step as there was no crisis in the PDP either in Abia state or at the national level.”
Responding, the Speaker said it was in the place of the court to interpret the matter and not him.
“Is it me or you or the court that should interpret the constitution? I am not the court”, Gbajabiamila said, hitting the gavel.