Defection: Falana says 25 Rivers lawmakers have lost legislative seats

By Innocent Raphael

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana SAN, has declared that members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who switched allegiance from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) last year have lost their seats.

WesternPost had reported that the defection of about 25 assembly members believed to be loyalists of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Minister Nyesom Wike, to the APC, amid tensions between Governor Siminalayi Fubara and the Minister, resulted in the creation of a new faction within the assembly.

Fubara subsequently declared the seats of the defecting lawmakers vacant, sparking a political crisis.

However, despite efforts by President Bola Tinubu to mediate, the impasse has obviously persisted.

Falana emphasized on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics that constitutionally, the legislators forfeit their positions upon switching parties unless they could demonstrate a national-level division within their original party, citing a Supreme Court precedent.

“The whole idea is that the constitution set out to ban political prostitution on the part of legislators.

“The Supreme Court made this clear in the case of Adetunde and the Labour Party, that you cannot decamp and then remain a member of a legislative house in Nigeria unless you can show that there is a division in your party.

“It doesn’t mean a division in a local government or a state. It has to be on the national level. That is the position of the court,” he said.

He further stressed that such provisions aim to deter what he termed “political prostitution” among lawmakers.

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