Another member of the House of Representatives, Samuel Onuigbo, on Thursday, dumped the Peoples Democratic Party and joined the All Progressives Congress.
Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, read Onuigbo’s letter of defection in plenary.
It was the fourth defection from opposition parties to the ruling APC in recent times.
The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, who hails from Onuoha’s home state of Imo, joined those who came to witness the defection in the House.
In his letter, Onuigbo said, “The past months have witnessed intense crises bothering in tyranny arising from lack of internal democracy and downright impunity in the Peoples Democratic Party. These crises have seriously distracted genuine leaders from effectively carrying out their primary responsibility of providing leadership to our people who, as it is, have been starved of progressive leadership.”
He said after due consultations with his friends, family and political associates especially his constituents, he has decided that the best option was to join the APC.
The defection, however, generated protests from the leaders and members of the PDP caucus, who asked Gbajabiamila to declare the defector’s seat vacant.
A member, Bob Solomon, after raising a point of order said, “We have witnessed this sort of charade for while a while in this House. It hurts me that we are deliberately turning the Constitution of this country on its head. As a member of the PDP, a proud one for that matter, there is no crisis and no division in my party.”
The Speaker, however, argued that Solomon’s privilege had not been breached, as the lawmaker came under Order 6, Rule 4, which had to do with personal privileges.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, also raised a point of order to cite Section 68 of the Constitution, which prescribed vacation of legislative seat after a defection that fails to meet the set conditions.
Elumelu dismissed Onuigbo’s reason for defecting, noting that the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, comes from the same Local Government Area with the defector.
Responding, Gbajabiamila said, “Your point is well taken. In the last Assembly a couple of years ago, a Senate President (Bukola Saraki) moved from APC to PDP. The Speaker (Yakubu Dogara) moved from APC to PDP. Did you or any of you say that their seats should be declared vacant?
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, PDP, Senator Walid Jibrin, on Thursday appealed to aggrieved members of the party to give the party time to address their grievances.
He explained that he was aware of existing issues but that the party was already addressing them. According to him, all that was required was for aggrieved party members to be a little more patient to allow the various party organs to conclude their various assignments.
Jibrin specifically urged party members to keep faith because there was a glimmer of hope at the end of the dark tunnel, which he noted the APC regime represented.
He said in a statement, “In my capacity as Chairman of PDP BoT, the conscience of the party, I am watching very keenly the recent developments in our great party with a special call on all aggrieved members to remain in the party with a view to looking for the way forward.
“As the father of all, I have decided not to pay deaf ears to group or individual grievances to enable me play a neutral and fatherly role in order to harmonise the views expressed with a view to taking necessary action.
“I wish to call on the aggrieved members to shelve their sword while we explore all peaceful means to find an amicable solution. I want to state that it is very normal for any member or groups to air their views, but we must use the various reconciliation strategies in order to make the party the strongest.
“I want to further state that PDP has come to stay with no shaking and determination to bring our detractors and enemies to shame.”