The Punch

Reps minority leaders protest as sixth Zamfara Rep dumps PDP for APC

- Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

ANOTHER member of the House of Representa­tives from Zamfara State, Kabiru Amadu, has formally announced his defection from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to the ruling All Progressiv­es Congress.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiami­la, read Amadu’s letter of defection at the plenary on Wednesday.

The leaders of the majority and minority caucuses of the House, however, traded words after Gbajabiami­la read the letter.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, who raised a point of order, said, “We have observed with dismay the continuous and serial disobedien­ce of our Constituti­on by the Speaker, who continues to ignore, neglect and fail to activate Section 68 of the Constituti­on, with subsection 2, which by operation of our Constituti­on and law, and by our own rules, any member who defects on the floor of this parliament is bound to lose his (or her) seat.”

The Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-doguwa, repeatedly screamed, ‘Point of order!’

The Speaker said, “Honourable Toby, that you were given the privilege to speak on the floor – which is a privilege and actually not a right, because I can call on whoever I want to call on – does not give you the licence to address the chair in such languages. It does not at all! It does not give you that opportunit­y or licence to address the chair in any language that you so wish. It is actually against our rules.

“I am not here to sit and interpret the Constituti­on. The courts will interpret the Constituti­on and determine whether there is a break in a party or not. It is not for me to determine whether there is a split in any party; that is the function of the judiciary and you should know better. You are therefore overruled!”

The Minority Leader, Ndudi elumelu, regretted that the constituti­onal provisions guiding defection were being ignored and threatened that the minority caucus would challenge the defection in court.

elumelu said in part, “It appears that the people from Zamfara are yet to be well informed about what is going on in this country. And what is that? The APC has failed woefully; it has failed in providing security.

“If you read the letter as he so stated, there is no conflict in the PDP that would warrant his defection. I can assure you that we are challengin­g that in court, because it is wrong and it should not have happened; and I believe that when the court rules, you will not sit on it.”

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