The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives is not relenting in its efforts to ensure the removal of 37 lawmakers elected on the partyâ€™s platform who last year defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaking against the backdrop of the judgment of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, a member of the caucus, Hon Yusuf Tajudeen, representing Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, told reporters PDP lawmakers in the House were meeting with party leaders on the matter with a view to taking a decision on it.
The court had last Monday given an order of perpetual injunction restraining the lawmakers, who defected from the PDP to the APC, from effecting any leadership change.
Justice Ademola had held that the defected lawmakers no longer had any business, morally and legally, to stay in the House following their defection from the party on whose platform they were elected.
Already, the House leadership and the 37 defectors had appealed the ruling and asking for a stay of execution of the court order.
However, Tajudeenâ€™s position is contrary to that of House deputy spokesman, Hon. Victor Ogene, who had told journalists that the House would wait until the court case runs its full course before taking a decision on the defectors.
But Tajudeen, who did not give details of how the PDP would achieve its objective, said the APC had no majority in the House as it had been claiming.
He described the initial clamour by the APC lawmakers to take over the House leadership as a figment of their imagination, adding that â€œyou cannot take what you donâ€™t have.â€
â€œThere has never been a time the APC had the numbers to become the majority in the House. It was a deliberate attempt to mislead the public by certain elements in the APC. There has never been a time in this 7th National Assembly that APC had the majority.
â€œWe are lawmakers and I expected us to be in the forefront of playing by the rules. There are procedures; if you attain the majority, you call the attention of the clerk that you now have the majority.
â€œIt is not by misleading the public or by calling for a press conference. They just want to give the impression that they are on ground. You canâ€™t take what you donâ€™t have; you canâ€™t give what you donâ€™t have.
â€œYes there was a ruling. The ruling did not say members should vacate their seats; it says they cannot participate in anything that has to do with change of leadership.
â€œHowever, there was a ruling recently where the court struck out the case instituted by the APC lawmakers trying to tie the hands of the speaker and the Senate President from declaring their seats vacant,â€ Tajudeen added.
Meanwhile, there appears to be no respite for the 37 defected members of the House as the Makurdi Local Government Area chapter of the PDP yesterday called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a fresh election into the Makurdi/Guma federal constituency, Benue State, seat presently occupied by Hon Emmanuel Jime following the recent ruling of Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court Abuja.
In a letter written to the state Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) which was also sent to THISDAY, the party referred INEC to the recent ruling of the court which technically declared vacant 37 seats presently occupied by defected PDP members to the APC in the House, therefore calling on the electoral umpire to conduct a fresh election into the position.
Speaking to journalists, the Chairman of the PDP in Makurdi Local Government Area, Hon Aondoaka Terwase, said they decided to call on INEC to conduct a fresh election since a vacuum had been created following the court ruling.
â€œThe reality of the judgment is that there is a vacuum to be filled in the Makurdi/Guma federal constituency, and we therefore call on INEC to promptly bridge that gap by conducting fresh election in the constituency early to enable its constituents benefit from proactive representation,â€ he said.
Also speaking, the partyâ€™s chairman in Guma council, applauded the judiciary for what he termed a historic judgment and for being the bastion of hope by upholding â€œour sacred values through the dispensation of justice.â€
But in a swift reaction, the APC, through the partyâ€™s G23 members in Makurdi, described the action of the PDP as a show of shame intended to remove the most influential and vibrant member of the House from the state.
According to its spokesman, Hon Akpen Edward, the case before the judiciary was on change of leadership and not issue of defection.
â€œNot conceding that the stated ruling pertains to the vacation of the seats of the defecting lawmakers, it is obvious to every discerning mind that the ruling is just flowing from a court of first instance and the ruling being subject to appeal and has even been appealed,â€ APC said.
The party however commended Jime for his outstanding performance since elected into the National Assembly.