No Going Back, Seats Of Defected Rivers Lawmakers Remain Vacant — PDP Insists

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it will not change its position on the vacation of seats by former 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who defected from the Party to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement on Thursday, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, clarified that the Party is not under pressure to compromise its position in court.

Recall that the Party stated that the former lawmakers are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, effective December 11, 2023, when they publicly announced their defection to the APC.

Ologunagba said, “This clarification is a refutal of a mischievous report in a section of the social media falsely claiming that there are plots to compromise the Party’s position and provide an unattainable lifeline to the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to return to their seats which they have constitutionally vacated.

“Our party therefore stands by its position that the affected members have since lost their seats in the Rivers State House of Assembly having arrogantly committed an unpardonable constitutional breach.

To erase all doubt, the PDP in its Counter Claim by its National Legal Adviser, Kamaldeen Ajibade SAN in Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1681/2023 filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, stated that the former Rivers State lawmakers “are no longer members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from December 11, 2023 when they publicly announced their defection.

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The PDP sought legal action, filing a counterclaim at the Federal High Court Abuja, seeking declarations and orders that:

Information Nigeria reports that the PDP’s acting National Chairman, Umar Iliya Damagun, was accused by the PDP Stakeholders Forum of allegedly receiving the sum of $2m along with the Party’s National Legal Adviser on behalf of the National Working Committee (NWC).

This, the Forum alleged, will allow the lawyers of the Minister Nyesom Wike of the Federal Capital Territory, file secret processes to stop the Court from declaring vacant the seats of the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who moved to APC.

Abubakar Isa, Publicity Secretary of the group, it alleged that one of the members of the NWC who was privy to the deal confided in him that though he has received his own share of the money, he was not happy with the way the party was drifting.

“This might have been the reason Wike boasted on Saturday to the member of the House of Assembly from Ogu-Bolo State constituency, Hon. Davids Okobiriari Arnold that nobody would remove him and declare his seat vacant in the Assembly. The court action is to allow the 27 defected lawmakers time to impeach Governor Fubara and restore the FCT Minister Nyesom Wike as the leader of the Party in the State with unfettered access to the Rivers treasury,” he alleged in a Thursday statement.