More defection in the Peoples Democratic Party rages as another member of the House of Representatives, Samuel Onuigbo, dumps the party to join All Progressives Congress.
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, read Onuigbo’s letter of defection at the plenary on Thursday.
The defection makes the fourth dumping of the PDP to the APC.
The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, who hails from Onuigbo’s home state of Imo, also joined those who came to witness the defection in the House.
Onuigbo, in his letter 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 noted that after appropriate consultations with his friends, family and political associates specifically his constituents, he then decided that the best option was to join the APC.
The defection generated protests from the leaders and members of the PDP caucus, when the speaker was asked to declare the defector’s seat vacant.
After raising a point of order under the law, a member, Bob Solomon, 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.”
Gbajabiamila, in his comment maintained that Solomon’s privilege had not been breached, as the lawmaker came under Order 6, Rule 4, which deals with personal privileges.
The Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, also raised a point of order to quote Section 68 of the Constitution, which authorised vacation of legislative seat after a defection that fails to meet the set conditions.
Elumelu who dismissed Onuigbo’s reason for defecting, noted that the National Organising Secretary of the PDP, comes from the same Local Government Area with the defector.
Gbajabiamila, while responding 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?
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, PDP, Senator Walid Jibrin, on Thursday appealed to aggrieved members of the party to allow the party addresses their grievances.
The BoT chairman disclosed that the party was already addressing the existing issues noting that he was also of knowledge to them, adding that the aggrieved party members needs to be more patient to allow the party organs conclude their various assignments.
Jibrin, however urged all party members to keep faith because there was a glimmer of hope at the end of the dark tunnel.
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.”