By Udora Orizu
Another member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives, Hon. Sam Onuigbo, Thursday announced his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Onuigbo’s defection which was announced at the plenary by the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila was received with a standing ovation by members of the APC family in the House and former Governor of Abia state, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who was admitted into the chamber to witness the ceremony.
In his defection letter, Onuigbo said he decided to join the APC as a result of crisis and lack of internal democracy and outright impunity within the PDP.
But, the defection of the lawmaker who is one of the oldest members of the House created uproar from members of the opposition in the House who insisted that the constitution had been breached and therefore his seat should be declared vacant.
One of the opposition lawmakers, Hon Solomon Bob, described the action as a charade as there was no crisis within the PDP to necessitate the step.
He said, ”Mr. Speaker, I know that you are a leader and you know what to do. What we are doing here is nothing but tramping on the constitution we swore to protect. If somebody writes to you claiming he was leaving the party that sponsored him to this house because of crisis, it is your responsibility to investigate that before accepting his letter.”
On his part, the House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, asked the House to invoke the provisions of section 68 and declare the seat vacant; pointing out that the claim of a crisis within the PDP was false.
Elumelu said the National Organising Secretary of the PDP hails from the same local government with Hon. Onuigbo, adding that there can never be crisis in the party there.
Responding, Gbajabiamila said, ”some years ago, the Senate President and the Speaker of the House decamped to the PDP. Did you ask for their seats to be declared vacant? Now, that former Speaker has left the PDP and rejoined the APC. Are you saying I should declare his seat vacant?”
Reacting, Elumelu insisted that what was going on was building on a faulty foundation and therefore there was the need to empower a Committee to investigate the claims.
Also, Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu said the spirit and letters of the constitution were sacrosanct and should be respected.
He added that Onuigbo had taken a dangerous step as there was no crisis in the PDP either in Abia state or at the national level.