The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal may be heading for a collision following the party’s request yesterday that he should declare vacant the seats of 37 lawmakers that defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The 37 members elected on the platform of the PDP had on Wednesday, announced their defection to the APC on the floor of the House during plenary with many others believed to be waiting for the right moment to follow suit.
In his second statement less than 24 hours after the lawmakers defected, National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Olisa Metuh on Thursday in Abuja argued that the members ought to lose their seats for renouncing the membership of the party.
The statement read in part: “Since the affected members have renounced their membership of the PDP, we call on the presiding officer in the House of Representatives to declare the 37 seats vacant without any further delay.
“This action shall be in adherence to our grand norm, which is the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended)”.
Metuh dismissed claims by the defectors to the effect that they had obtained a court injunction restraining the Senate President, David Mark, Tambuwal and the PDP from declaring their seat vacant, saying they must have misinterpreted the court’s injunction.
He said, “The attention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been drawn to claims by 37 defecting members of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the PDP to the APC that they obtained an injunction restraining the leadership of the National Assembly and the party from declaring their seats vacant in line with provisions of the Constitution.
“We have, after a careful review, discovered that this claim is false. For the avoidance of doubt, the order of the court clearly says that status quo be maintained, which means the affected members shall remain members of the PDP.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in section 68 (i) (g) clearly spells out the consequences of cross carpeting when there is no division in any party. We wish to re-emphasise here that the courts have pronounced, and INEC has concurred that there are no factions in the PDP.
“Nigerians are eagerly awaiting this call to duty as this will go a long way in demonstrating our commitment to the rule of law”, Metuh stressed.