A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, on Wednesday said there is no division in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to warrant the members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to dump the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC).
On Monday, 27 lawmakers said to be loyal to the immediate past governor of the state, Nyesom Wike, dumped the party on Monday for the All Progressives Congress (APC). However, two of the lawmakers were said to have returned to the PDP.
A day after, the PDP asked Edison Ehie, speaker of the Rivers assembly, to declare the lawmakers’ seats vacant immediately.
Reacting to the crisis rocking the assembly, Falana said the affected lawmakers should approach the court to challenge the speaker’s decision if they are aggrieved with it.
“The party must have broken down down the line before you can talk of a decision that will warrant your remaining in the house of the assembly. For once, there is no division in your party and you decide to quit,” he said on Wednesday.
“Every law student knows in Nigeria that automatically, you lose your seat. You will have to re-contest under your new party.”
The human rights lawyer also faulted the lawmakers’ decision, saying they were not exposed to sound legal advice.
According to Falana, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is required by law to conduct elections for the seats of the lawmakers.
“The legislators were not exposed to sound legal advice. Everybody should know that once the Supreme Court has made a pronouncement on a matter in any country, you’re bound to comply, and if you’re going to take any decision, you must study the judgement critically.
“Just yesterday, 20 legislators who defected from the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, had their seats declared vacant by the court. That’s the law; unless the Supreme Court decides to change it, that is the law in Nigeria today.
“It’s also a good development; it’s a good law; it’s a good interpretation that there should be no political prostitution in the country because it’s tantamount to political immorality if you vote on the platform of a political party and you abandon the party; you’re advised to go and try your luck by contesting again under the new political party,” he said.