The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately commence the process of conducting fresh elections into the 27 state constituencies in Rivers State which the party claimed have become vacant.
The PDP made the call in a Monday statement signed by National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba.
Recall that 27 PDP members of the 32-member Rivers State House of Assembly announced their defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) today.
The lawmakers, who are said to be loyal to FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, cited division within the PDP in Rivers as the primary reason for their defection to the APC.
However, the PDP asserted that by defecting from the political Party platform on which they were elected into the assembly, the 27 lawmakers’ seats have become vacant by virtue of the provision of Section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 109 (1) of the 1999 Constitution provides that “a member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if … (g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political Party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected…”
“By reason of the above Constitutional provision and its clear interpretation by the Supreme Court, the 27 defected members of the Rivers State House of Assembly have vacated and lost their seats, rights, privileges, recognition and obligations accruable to members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
“The PDP therefore demands that the Speaker of the Rivers State House Assembly immediately comply with the provision of the Constitution by declaring the seats of the 27 former lawmakers vacant.
“In view of the vacancy now exiting in the 27 State Constituencies in Rivers State, the PDP demands that INEC should within the stipulated period under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) conduct fresh election to fill the vacancies,” the PDP said.
The party further cautioned the “former lawmakers” to stop parading themselves as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly as such would amount to impersonation with serious criminal consequences.