Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wednesday urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh elections in the constituencies in Imo State where its lawmakers defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, during a media briefing in Abuja, also said the defected lawmakers had lost their seats according to Nigeria’s constitution.
He said, “It is settled under the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that a legislator who decamps from a party upon which he was elected a member of a legislative house automatically loses his or her membership of that house as the seat belongs to the political party upon which platform the election was won and not the individual.
“The vacation of the seat, as a direct consequence of decamping to another political party other than the party upon which one was elected to occupy a seat in the legislature, is clear and unambiguous under Section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 109 (1)(g) provides that “a member of the House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if …(g) being a person whose election to the House of Assembly by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected:
“The Constitution went further to state “provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”
“Consequent upon the above constitutional provisions, these defectors have vacated their seats, they no longer have a place in the state assembly, as there is no division or merger of any kind in the PDP at any level whatsoever.
“The PDP is therefore left with no other option than to request the INEC to immediately commence the processes for the conduct of fresh elections into the respective state constituencies where the legislators have vacated their seats, in line with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.”