Two Imo State members of the House of Representatives on the platform of the Action Alliance (AA), Pascal Obi and Kingsley Uju, defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The lawmakers, whose defection was announced by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, during plenary session yesterday, adduced incessant intra-party squabbles within the AA as reason for their defection.
There was, however, a mild drama as the House Minority Leader, Mr. Tony Elumelu, kicked against the decision of the lawmakers on the basis that it ran contrary to Section 68 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
Elumelu claimed that he was not aware of any crisis in the AA, adding that it behoves the Speaker to declare the lawmakers’ seats vacant over their decision to dump the AA, which sponsored them to the lower legislative chamber in the 2019 poll.
He was promptly ruled out of order by the Speaker, who said: “There is something in law called locus standi. My question to you is this, are you a member of AA? You are the Minority Leader and you are a member of PDP. As Minority Leader, you are not automatically a member of AA.
“So, you have no locus standi. If you go to court and I’m saying that the matter can be interpreted in court, but unfortunately, you cannot go to court because you are not aggrieved. You do not have locus standi. Unfortunately, your point of order is out of order.”
The lawmakers, who later spoke with reporters, said that their decision was in the best interest of their constituents who all belonged to the APC.
They also adduced the need to strengthen the APC in Imo State after the emergence of Hope Uzodinma as governor as reason for their defection.
Uju, representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru West of Imo State, said their entrance into the APC would boost the chances of the South-East geo-political zone to aspire for the Presidency of the country in the 2023 poll.
He said: “The clamour may be one of the reasons the party is getting stronger and stronger in the zone. We are here to strengthen the party. Politics is a quantitative and qualitative game. Success in politics means electoral victory and dividend of democracy.
“What we have just done is to key into what is happening at the centre. The people of our area have suffered so many challenges. The good thing is that the APC has recaptured Imo State and will capture more states. From there, the journey begins. We have left Egypt and are heading to the Promised Land.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Imo State House of Assembly, Chiji Collins, has denied the media report that he left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the APC in order to retain his position under the new government.
Chiji, who spoke at the APC stakeholders’ meeting at Isiala in Mbano Local Council, said that he rather joined the APC because he would not want to be an opposition Speaker in the state.
He said even as he has left the PDP, he still enjoys wonderful relationship with former Governor Emeka Ihedioha and other chieftains of the party in the state and beyond.
The Speaker, however, expressed regret on how his former party, PDP, lost control of the House following the massive defection of over 15 other lawmakers to the ruling party in the state.
He reiterated his support to the incumbent governor, Hope Uzodinma, and also assured on his commitment to use his office to facilitate good legislation and attract good democratic dividends for the overall good of the people.