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Defection: Rivers APC Receives 27 State Lawmakers

They were received in a ceremony at the Port Harcourt Polo Club chaired by the Rivers APC Caretaker Chairman Tony Okocha. 


The lawmakers citing several reasons for their defection from the PDP.

 

The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has received 27 state lawmakers who recently joined the party from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

They were received in a ceremony – chaired by the Rivers APC Caretaker Chairman Tony Okocha – at the Port Harcourt Polo Club.

At the event, Okocha accused the Rivers State Government of masterminding the arson of the Rivers State Assembly.

“I challenge the Governor (Sim Fubara and the PDP) to prove to Rivers people that they are not the ones responsible for the burning of the Rivers Assembly,” he told the gathering on Monday.

“How did the fire ‘catch’ the place?” the APC chieftain asked.

[READ ALSO] Rivers Crisis: Court Bars INEC From Conducting By-Elections To Replace 27 Lawmakers

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Okocha claims the PDP is behind the arson of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

 

The PDP had in the wake of the defection called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare the lawmakers’ seats vacated with the Fubara government demolishing the assembly complex owing to the fire incident.

Governor Fubara subsequently presented the 2024 budget to the other lawmakers at the Government House in Port Harcourt.

But Okocha claims the defectors can meet and make laws at any place irrespective of PDP’s call.

“How many days ago, we were told that they had pulled down the assembly – as early as 7:00 am – they pulled down the assembly. But let’s say this clearly: assembly does not infer a structure. Assembly is not a building. Assembly is the human beings who are members of the assembly,” Okocha said.

“So, our assembly members that have defected to us – 27 of them – are free to meet anywhere as far as the symbol of authority – the maze – is there.”

READ ALSO: Former Rivers Governors To Intervene In State Crisis, Says Ex-Gov George

A ‘Due Process’

Martin Amaewhule (with microphone) says the lawmakers’ defection is in line with the laws of the land.

 

While speaking at the event attended by 26 of the lawmakers, Martin Amaewhule, who leads the group of lawmakers, maintained that they are still members of the assembly despite their seats being declared vacant by the Edison Ehie group.

“We made sure that we followed due process. We made sure we did not do anything outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. The Constitution has given room for people to defect,” he told the audience comprised mostly of APC chieftains.

“That is why Section 109 Subsection 1(G), allows serving legislators who want to do so with a proviso that there is a division in the party upon which they rode to the house of assembly. So, in line with that provision, we defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).”