The rank of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the House of Representatives in Tuesday has swelled following the defection of Hon. Aliyu Datti Yakwo (PDP, Kano) and Hon. Danjuma Usman (APGA, Taraba) to the APC.
The letters of defection by the two lawmakers were read on the floor of the House during Tuesday plenary by Speaker of the House, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila amidst protest by the leadership of the minority leadership describing the defection as illegal.
Acccording to The Nation, Hon. Aliyu who defeated Abdulmuminu Jibril of the APC in a rerun election in 2019 said he was leaving the PDP because of existing crisis in the party that has generated division within the party in the state.
On his part, Hon. Danjuma also said that the All Progressive Grand Alliance was currently saddled with internal crisis that has made it impossible for him to actualise his political aspirations.
However, in his point of order, Minority Leader of the House, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu drew the attention of the House to the provisions of section 68 (1a) of the constitution which stipulates that any member who leaves the party in whose platform he was elected should lose his seat.
He said from his discussion with the leadership of the PDP in Kano state, there was no evidence of any crisis within the party, adding that as a man of integrity who took an oath to defend the law, the Speaker has a responsibility to declare the seat of the two lawmakers vacant.
Elumelu said the issue of defection may sound funny at the moment, saying “APC members are laughing now and enjoying themselves as members fragrantly decamp from the parties that brought them to this chamber. What they have done is illegal and we must not allow this to continue”.
Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu informed the House that there was an existing Supreme Court judgement which says that the crisis in political parties envisioned by the constitution was the crisis at the national level of the parties.
He said “we might deliberately continue to breach the law by allowing people to defect from the political parties that brought them to this parliament, adding that such situation must not be allowed to continue.
In ruling Elumelu out of order, the Speaker said “when a member said there is a crisis in his local government, neither the Speaker nor the Minority Leader has the power to say otherwise. If you do, you will have to prove that. I am aware that there is a case in court right now in Kano”.
The Speaker however jokingly told Elumelu that “something tells me that you will soon join the APC”, to which Elumelu immediately rejected saying “I have a dream that you will soon join the PDP.”