A Lawyer, Richard Nwankwo on Thursday said that the court cannot declare the seats of 37 lawmakers who defected to the APC on Wednesday vacant because the constitution guarantees freedom of association.
The lawmakers said that they changed parties due to “division and factionalisation” within the ruling party.
Reacting to the latest development on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Nwankwo said that no court pronouncement would detract from Section 38 of the constitution which talks about the freedom of thought, conscience and religion as well as section 40 which talks about peaceful assembly and association.
“These two constitutional provisions are very key and strong, and that is the beauty of constitutional democracy,” he said.
“We have to look at what is going on from the perspective of the fundamental rights provisions, because that is the thrust of this matter. The constitution is clear, and I believe that whatever cross-carpeting or re-alignment that is taking place will not detract from the strength of any political party that is on the ground, but what should border Nigerians is that these cross-carpeting, re-alignments have no ideological platform,” he added.
The political circle in the country has been regarded as bereft of any ideology as politicians often hop from party to party, Nwankwo supported the popular assertion by saying “in some other jurisdictions, political parties are known for their ideological slant but that is completely non-existent in our political equation here.”
He added that “this is an environment where our President talks about provision of water, good roads, and environmental sanitation issues. These are 14th century challenges in some other jurisdictions.
“We are still battling with the basics and that also gives us insight into the strength of the challenge we have.
“We have a political arena that is bereft of political ideologies,” he said, and added that the disputes leading to the defection of governors and lawmakers “have absolutely nothing to do with ideologies” as they are “predicated on personal disputes.”
“The landscape is becoming very muddy and very uncertain.”