Halt legislators’ brazen, reckless defection, PDP urges tribunal

The Peoples Democratic Party, Ebonyi chapter, has urged the Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja to resolve the brazen and reckless attitude of legislators defecting from one political party to another.

This was as the main opposition party in the state observed that the crux of the petition challenging Francis Nwifuru’s return as governor in the March 18, 2023, governorship election was because his membership of the PDP subsisted when he was sponsored to contest the election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.

The Director of Strategic Communications, PDP, Chief Abia Onyike, said this during a press conference on Saturday.

He said, “Gentlemen of the press, we are glad to have you around to witness the adoption of final written addresses in the Election Petition brought by Chief Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii and the Peoples Democratic Party against the return of His Excellency, Francis Nwifuru of the APC.

“The main ground of the petition is the petitioners’ claim that Rt. Hon. Nwifuru, being a PDP member at all material times concerning the 2023 elections, remained a PDP member and is therefore not eligible to have been sponsored to contest the governorship election in Ebonyi State by the APC.

“Section 177(C) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria ( as amended) is clear on sponsorship of candidates by political parties. Recall that His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Nwifuru was elected to the Ebonyi State House of Assembly in 1999, where he served until May 2023 as its Speaker.

“It is hoped that this Petition will help to resolve the brazen , reckless and unjustifiable practice of legislators who after being elected under the platform of particular political parties, throw caution to the wind and purport to cross carpet or defect to other political parties without relinquishing their membership of such legislative Houses in sheer disregard of Section 109 (g) of the said 1999 Constitution.

“It is not the intention of our Constitution, as a democratic nation, to have politicians belong to two political parties simultaneously. It is certainly alien to any known law in Nigeria for a person to be a member of party A and then be sponsored by party B in an election.

“Election is a serious constitutional endeavour, and participants must respect the ground norm that governs it. Political office holders must not be allowed to benefit from their wilful disregard for law whenever they decide to change their political allegiance. The details of our case has been submitted to the Tribunal for their consideration and decision, in line with the dictates of our constitution as a nation.

“We are confident that the law will prevail over politics and political persuasion as we remain resolute in our quest to rescue our dear Ebonyi State.

“We thank all members of the media for your resilience and dedication to duty as defenders of democracy. Also, our teaming supporters who travel all the way from Ebonyi to Abuja for the entire duration of the trial, your sacrifice of love and commitment to the progress and development of our dear state will not go unrewarded.”

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