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Rivers Judgment Marks A Low Point In Nigeria’s Democracy – Coalition

The judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which re-instated the seats of the 24 lawmakers who defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to…

The judgment of the Court of Appeal, Abuja, which re-instated the seats of the 24 lawmakers who defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC), has been described as a low point in Nigeria’s democracy.

The National Democratic Coalition (NDC) rejected the judgement, saying that the court has given licence to politicians to defect from the party upon which they were elected to another without consequences.

The appellate court dismissed an order of the Rivers State High Court, which had restrained the 24 Members of the Rivers State House of Assembly led by Martin Amaewhule from parading themselves as members of the Assembly, effectively reinstating them even though the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) expressly stated that the lawmakers forfeited their seats by defecting to a political party other than the one on which platform they were elected.

Executive Director of the coalition, Dr. Samson Iroegbunam, said the reinstatement of the former members of the Rivers State House of Assembly is against the rule of law, undemocratic, antithetical, retrogressive and provocative to the point of further jeopardising the fragile peace in the state.

The group urged the people of Rivers State to remain calm as the judgment would not stand the test of time, especially since the democratic-minded stakeholders in the state have indicated that the matter shall be pursued to the Supreme Court until the will of the people of the state is respected.

“Nigerians should stand up to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which in Section 109. (1) (g) clearly stated that ‘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”, he said.

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