Speaker threatens to declare seats of absentee lawmakers vacant
There was a drama as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila threatened to declare the seats of some absentee lawmakers especially from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) vacant.
The threat came on the heel of protest against the defection of two PDP lawmakers to All Progressive Congress (APC), namely: Hon. Ephraim Nwuzi (PDP-River) and Hon. David Abel (PDP-Taraba).
While raising a point of order, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP-Enugu) noted that the Federation depends on law and that the affected lawmakers in their letters merely cited the charisma of Mr Speaker and not the provisions of the Constitution (as amended).
He, therefore, urged the affected members to adhere by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, just as he urged Mr Speaker to defend the oath of office by prevailing on the affected lawmakers to “abide by the rules of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
In his intervention, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu who observed that there is no crisis in the PDP River State argued that such decision to defect was illegal and unconstitutional.
In the same vein, Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-River) noted the constitutional provision was explicit and should not be compromised.
He maintained that as the Speaker of the 9th Assembly, this enables him to demonstrate courage to defend the Constitution.
However in his response, Hon. Gbajabiamila argued that the same lawmakers who castigated him while serving as Minority Leader in the 8th Assembly to go to court while APC members defected in numbers lack moral courage.