The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja for an order declaring the seats of the five governors who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) vacant.
The governors are: Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Abdulfatai Ahmed (Kwara).
Named as defendants in the suit along with the five governors is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The party is also asking the court to order the Houses of Assembly of the affected states to impeach the governors.
In the suit filed by Dr. Alex Izinyon, the party cited sections 177 (c), 221 and 222 (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a ground for the court to declare them ineligible to remain in office as governors having defected to APC.
The court was equally asked to make a declaration that in the absence of any division in the PDP, the five governors have vacated or forfeited their seats upon their defection to the APC.
APC Warns PDP To Back Off
The All Progressives Congress (APC) had last week cautioned the PDP against declaring vacant the seats of the five governors saying “apart from being illegal and smacking of double standard, such a move has the potential to plunge the polity into chaos.”
The party, in a statement by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said “any attempt by the PDP to act in desperation and declare the governors’ seats vacant will be met with an unprecedented show of people power that will end, once and for all, the impunity of the PDP and the Presidency.”
According to the statement, “APC has irrefutable evidence that the PDP is desperately shopping for a pliant judge who will be heavily induced to declare vacant the seats of the five governors who recently defected to the APC. We also have the name of the lawyers who have been retained by the PDP for this hatchet job.
‘’We are in possession of the various nefarious legal options being explored by the PDP and the Presidency, but we hereby serve a strong notice to the duo that any attempt by anyone through any means other than what is provided for in Section 188 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, will not only have grave consequences, but will leave the polity severely bruised.
‘’We wish to state unequivocally that should the PDP go ahead with this plan, there will be widespread repercussions as the APC has resolved that henceforth, every act of impunity of the PDP and the Presidency will be met with stiff resistance in the form of a vociferous telegraphing of people power, the likes of which have not been witnessed.’’
APC also warned against any attempt by the PDP and the Presidency to “turn back the hands of the clock as far as the cleaning up of the judiciary is concerned, by inducing a servile and disreputable judge to do the duo’s bidding.
Accusing the PDP of engaging in double standard, APC said “For all of 14 years, elected members of the State Houses of Assembly, as well as the National Assembly have been defecting mostly to the PDP and no court has ever declared their seats vacant.
“The late Senator Wahab Dosunmu and Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, then of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) blazed the trail when they decamped to the PDP within a year of their election. Since then, scores of elected lawmakers at state and federal levels have defected to the PDP without any eyebrows being raised or anyone declaring their seats vacant.
“When Governors Ikedi Ohakim of Imo State and Theodore Orji of Abia State, both elected on the platform of the PPA, and Governor Isah Yuguda of Bauchi State, who was elected on the platform of the then ANPP, defected to the PDP, nobody declared their seats vacant.
“As a matter of fact, the PDP under the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua organised an elaborate reception to welcome Yuguda to the PDP. Why then should the case of the five PDP governors who have joined the APC be different? Why is the PDP suddenly afraid of taking the same medicine it has been administering to others? Does it mean that all the bravado that has been displayed by the PDP, which says it is not bothered by the defection of the five governors, is just a facade to hide its deep pain at the monumental loss?’’ APC queried.
The opposition party urged the PDP to go and read and be guided by the ruling of the Supreme Court after it (PDP) allegedly attempted to make the then Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, to lose his seat and to also strip him of his privileges following his defection to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).