APC Lawmakers Insists On Taking Over House leadership
SAN FRANCISCO, January 19, (THEWILL) - The 37 members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) elected into the House of Representatives who defected to the APC have said that despite the suit by the ruling PDP challenging their defection, nothing will stop the APC from taking over majority leadership of the House of Representatives from the crisis-ridden party.
One of the defectors, the Chairman of the House Committee on House Services, Hon.
Yakubu Dogara (APC, Bauchi) who spoke Sunday in Abuja assured that he and 36 others will not return to the PDP.
Dogara argued that PDP had no locus standi to institute the suit because it concerns the internal leadership structure of the House which is guaranteed by the constitution and House rules.
The lawmaker further said that there is nowhere in the world, where a minority party rules the parliament, and that since the PDP has now found itself in minority position, it must revert to its right place.
He revealed that contrary to the suit instituted by the PDP no one has planned to change the PDP leadership in the House since all the legislators occupying leadership positions in House under the platform of the PDP will continue to retain their position but in minority capacity.
He said the judiciary cannot dictate to the legislature how to conduct its affairs as it is against the principles of separation of powers as enshrined in the constitution.
According to him, courts cannot choose leaders for the House since it is the prerogative of the members to decide who will lead them.
"It's sad that the wine of impunity has drenched the soul of PDP.
The leaders don't care about the Constitution or our laws anymore.
Even fantasies induced by hangover are thought implementable.
That's the depth of decay we have sunk to.
The rule of law means nothing in the strange democracy we practice here.
Take a look at Section 68(1)(g) of the constitution which the party is referring to.
The power to declare defecting members' seat vacant is solely vested in the presiding officer, the Senate President or Speaker of the House as the case may be.
It's in black and white.
"Section 68 (1)(g) of the constitution does not mention INEC, the Courts or any Party for that matter.
It's a demonstration of crass ignorance for PDP to have written to INEC or even go to the Courts to have defecting members' seats declared vacant.
Thank God INEC swiftly replied that it lacks the constitutional powers to do so.
"Even in these days of black market judgements, it will be near impossible for any sane judge to interpret section 68(1)(g) of the constitution which does not mention the court as conferring the powers to declare defecting member's seat vacant on him.
That will amount to judicial rascality of the highest order.
Constitutionally speaking, its share rubbish to talk about INEC or the Courts declaring any member's seat vacant.
It's just a childish threat borne out of ignorance.
"If the PDP wants to achieve that, it can only run to the Speaker who has the sole Constitutional powers to declare a defecting member's seat vacant.
Unfortunately for the PDP, the powers the Speaker enjoys is heavily circumscribed by the provisions of section 68(2) of the Constitution which provide that ".
the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of Representatives or a member shall first present evidence satisfactory to the House concerned that any of the provisions of that subsection has become applicable in respect of that member.