The All Progressives Congress (APC) has declared that there is no court order barring the 11 former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators from defecting to the opposition party.
In a statement in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC said the order those against the defections are referring to is that the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives should maintain the status quo concerning defecting lawmakers.
APC said: “What this order means is that neither the President of the Senate nor the Speaker of the House can declare vacant the seats of the defecting lawmakers. It does not mean the letter of notification from defecting members cannot be read on the floor of the chambers.
“The argument that the defecting letter cannot be read on the floor, so as not to contravene the Senate’s Standing Rules that precludes the upper chamber from discussing any matter that is already in court, does not apply in this case”, the party said.
“We are not asking that the issue of the defection should be discussed or debated on the floor of the Senate. All we are saying is that the Senate President should read the letter of notification.
“The coast is very clear for this to be done, and the Senate President is duty-bound to do so”, the party said.
To the APC, it is “wishful thinking” that the 11 Senators can be tactically prevented from defecting from the PDP to the APC. Those harboring such thoughts, said the party, should know that it is too late in the day for anyone to stall the move on the basis of a non-existent court order or a Standing Rule that will only be operational, if indeed there is a court order expressly concerning the Senators’ letter.
The APC said: “The act of defection by the 11 senators took place the moment they handed their letter to the Senate President at 10 am on the morning of Wednesday 29th of January 2014 whether or not the Senate President goes ahead to read the letter. Therefore, trying to stall the defection by stonewalling on the letter or attempting to secure a dubious injunction especially when our lawyers were not served the motion papers until about 4pm of the same Wednesday is like seeking to abort a pregnancy when the baby has already been born.
“The existing court order that the Senate President and the House Speaker should maintain the status quo actually strengthens the letter written by the Senators who defected, because it says that their seats cannot be declared vacant until the issue has been determined, hence their defection letter should be read without delay”.