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New PDP assures defecting Senators, Reps of legislative seats

By The Citizen
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The New Peoples Democratic Party has assured PDP legislators in the National Assembly who decide to defect to the All Progressives Congress (APC) that they would not lose their seats as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guaranteed freedom of association.

In a statement in Abuja on Thursday by the National Publicity Secretary of the faction, Chief Chukwuemeka Eze, the group stated that 'we have read reports that members of the National Assembly that follow us to APC will lose their seats.

'This cannot happen as it will be at variance with the relevant sections of our Constitution and electoral laws that guarantee the safety of the members of the National Assembly once their parent party is in crisis as PDP is at the moment.

'For the avoidance of doubt, there is no danger of their losing their seats as made clear by sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in relation to the status of members of a legislative house (state and national) who defect from the political parties from which they were elected to join another political party.'

He said since the APC was now having the majority in the National Assembly, the members would be covered by the Constitution, adding that there was nothing the Bamanga Tukur-led National Working Committee of the PDP could do to any defecting members of the PDP.

But the PDP said the New PDP was not known to the party and the law.

Because of this, the PDP said there was no way the faction of the PDP could therefore claim to have merged with the APC.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metuh, in Abuja on Thursday, asked Nigerians to disregard the alleged merger.

He said, 'Our attention has been drawn to press reports and statements from some persons passing off the defecting of a group of former PDP members to the APC as a merger. This information is false and is intended to mislead the public.

'What happened was not a merger. You can only talk of a merger where there were two distinct parties. In this case there is only one party, the APC.'

Metuh said the fact that the President Goodluck Jonathan agreed to dialogue with this group was because of his magnanimity and large heart, which he said he had demonstrated over time.

He said the meeting with the President  did not mean that the New PDP was a group recognised by law.

He said the action of those who defected was motivated by blind ambition and what he described as vain glory.

He, however, said that the defection of some of the governors and members of the party would not affect the fortune of the party.

Metuh , however, warned the APC to be wary of the new entrants into its midst, who he described as fifth columnists.