A Federal High Court in Abuja has sacked 20 members of the Cross River State House of Assembly for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had instituted a suit against the lawmakers over their defection to the APC.
The affected lawmakers are Michael Etaba, Legor Idagbor, Eteng Jonah William, Joseph A. Bassey, Odey Peter Agbe, Okon E. Ephraim, Regina L. Anyogo, Matthew S. Olory, Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, Ogbor Ogbor Udop, and Ekpe Charles Okon.
Others are Hillary Ekpang Bisong, Francis B. Asuquo, Elvert Ayambem, Davis Etta, Sunday U. Achunekan, Cynthia Nkasi, Edward Ajang, Chris Nja-Mbu Ogar, and Maria Akwaji.
In opposing the suit, Mike Ozekhome, counsel to the 4th-25th defendants, had challenged the court’s jurisdiction to hear the suit.
He submitted that the cause of action arose in Calabar and that the matter should be transferred to the high court in Calabar.
In his judgement, the presiding judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, held that “there is nothing against the law that the suit be heard by this court”.
He said the 4-25th defendants are joined with other defendants who have their offices in Abuja.
Furthermore, in their defence, the lawmakers had argued that there was rancor in the PDP which led to their expulsion from the party.
The APC had in their submissions, told the court that the lawmakers are not registered members of their party.
However, the judge held that the defendants had intentions to mislead the court. He said he found gaps and loopholes in their defence as they tried to twist events to suit their own narratives.
Taiwo noted that they not only defect loudly but “took pictures of their defection and were received by the officials of the 26th defendant.
“The is no doubt that the defendants can belong to or join any political association and assembly as they are free to do so. However, the truth must be told.
“I consider the attempts of the 6th – 25th defendants to justify their defection, feeble in the circumstances of this case.”
Taiwo noted that the public voted for the lawmakers through the plaintiff who sponsored them and they were not voted for as independent candidates.
“They had a vehicle which conveyed them and that vehicle belongs to the plaintiff. They cannot abandon the vehicle,” he held.
He stated that politicians treat citizens that elected them into power as if they do not matter when they assume office, adding that a day will come when elected officers must resign their post if they migrate to another party or seek the permission of the people for permission before they decamp.