In a swift and assertive move, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called upon the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct fresh elections in 27 state constituencies of Rivers State following the defection of lawmakers from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The call was made in a strongly-worded letter by Pepple Victor Fred, Esq, the Assistant State Legal Adviser of the PDP Rivers State Chapter. The letter, addressed to Aaron Chukwuemeka, the Acting Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, insisted on the immediate declaration of the seats of the defected lawmakers as vacant, citing constitutional provisions.
The PDP argued that the defection of the lawmakers, elected under the PDP platform, triggered the provisions of Section 109 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). This section stipulates that a member of a House of Assembly shall vacate their seat if they become a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.
The Assistant State Legal Adviser warned of expedient actions if the Speaker fails to act within 24 hours, emphasizing the need to preserve the integrity and fortunes of the PDP.
Also, in a press statement released on December 11, 2023, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, reiterated the party’s stance. He called on the Speaker to promptly declare the seats vacant in compliance with the Constitution, emphasizing that the defected lawmakers had lost their rights, privileges, and obligations as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.
Ologunagba further emphasized the PDP’s demand for INEC to conduct fresh elections in the 27 constituencies, following the Constitution’s provisions. The statement cautioned the defected lawmakers against impersonation and commended the people of Rivers State for their steadfastness and loyalty to democracy and the rule of law.
The PDP’s resolute stance signals a potential political showdown in Rivers State, as the party seeks to uphold constitutional provisions and maintain its influence in the State Assembly.