The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Tuesday advised its 27 state legislators who defected to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Rivers to vacate their seats and seek fresh election.
PDP’s acting national chairman, Malam Umar Damagum, made the demand when he briefed newsmen in Abuja after the party’s National Working Committee’s emergency meeting on political developments in Rivers.
He said by virtue of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution, the lawmakers had lost their seats.
He explained that the only option available to the defectors was to seek fresh nomination and re-election on the platform of political parties of their choice.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there is no division in the PDP at the national or state level for that matter to justify the defection of the PDP lawmakers.
“They vacated their seats for reasons best known to them and cannot return to the House of Assembly without passing through fresh elections in accordance with the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act (2022).
“Moreover, the Speaker of Rivers House of Assembly, Hon. Ehie Edison, has officially declared the seats of the defected members vacant in line with the constitution.
“The Rivers House of Assembly, having become Functus Officio (one whose duty or authority has come to an end) on the matter cannot re-admit the former lawmakers unless through a fresh election.
“For emphasis, the Electoral Act (2022) is clear in providing that no court has powers to stop INEC from conducting elections wherever and whenever a vacancy exists in any electoral constituency,’’ Damagum said.
He called on INEC to fix a date for the conduct of fresh elections in the constituencies of the defectors.
He also called on PDP members in Rivers to remain united and resolute in the defence of constitutional democracy and the rule of law.
Damagum noted that many members worked against the PDP at the 2023 general elections.
The 27 lawmakers defected to the APC on December 11.