The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has given the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 14 days ultimatum to conduct bye-elections to replace the 27 vacant constituencies in the Rivers State House of Assembly.
This followed the defection of 27 lawmakers from the People’s Democracy Party to the All Progressives Congress.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Daniel Okwa, the group’s convener said the recent happenings in Rivers portends multiple levels of evil for democracy in the country.
Okwa said according to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the 27 members have forfeited their seats at the state assembly hence the need for a fresh election.
Quoting from the Constitution, Okwa stated: “A member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if – being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.
“The 27 controversial lawmakers must simply comply with the position of the law by vacating the Rivers State House of Assembly having breached Section 109 (g) of the Constitution that brought them into office. Under the law, these lawmakers cease to be elected representatives of the people and their offices must be declared vacant.
“We find it most unfortunate that the 27 former Rivers State House of Assembly members were misinformed and misled into defecting from the PDP to the APC without realizing that their action effectively means they have vacated their seats as elected lawmakers. It is an action that they have themselves to blame for.
“Had they properly consulted instead of taking orders from someone who has secured himself a long-term political meal ticket, they would not be in the current sorry pass where they will now have to take part in bye-elections, assuming they can clinch tickets in their new political party.”