The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the peace deal brokered by President Bola Tinubu over the crisis between the Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara, and his estranged godfather and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Nyesom Wike.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday, the Acting National Chairman of the party, Umar Damagum, asked the “former lawmakers” not to be deceived by those in Abuja, insisting that they had willingly vacated their seats.
Damagum noted that the right thing for the 25 lawmakers, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), to do was to prepare for a fresh election under any political party they want as the PDP had already written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to prepare for fresh polls in the affected constituencies.
Damagum, flanked by other members of the National Working Committee (NWC), “demands that INEC should, in line with Section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 84 (15) of the Electoral Act, 2022 fix a date for the conduct of fresh election into the 25 state constituencies in Rivers State where vacancies have occurred by reason of the defection of the now former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly, pending the determination of any suit in any court.
“Our party insists that having now vacated and lost their seats, the only option available to the former lawmakers, if they wish to return to the House of Assembly, is to seek fresh nomination and re-election on the platform of any political party of their choice in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and the Electoral Act, 2022.
“The 25 former Rivers lawmakers freely and without any cause vacated their seats, being fully aware of the consequences of defection from the party upon which they were elected into the Rivers State House of Assembly without the conditions stipulated by the 1999 Constitution.”
The party insisted that it had no crisis, adding that the claims by the lawmakers should be ignored.
The party chair noted, “For the avoidance of doubt, there is no division in the PDP at the national or any other level for that matter to justify the defection of the 25 former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly from the party.
“They therefore vacated their seats for reasons best known to them and cannot return to the House of Assembly without passing through a fresh electoral process in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the Electoral Act, 2022.
“Moreover, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ehie Edison, officially declared the seat of the defected, now former, members vacant in line with Section 109 (1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The Rivers State House of Assembly, having become functus officio on the matter cannot re-admit the former lawmakers unless through the channel of a fresh election.
“Our party therefore counsels the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly not to be deceived by anybody giving them the false hope and impracticable assurances in Abuja that they can return to the Rivers State House of Assembly without a fresh election or that the Independent National Electoral Commission can be stopped from conducting fresh election into the 25 Rivers State constituencies where vacancies have occurred by reason of their defection.”