• Tuesday, June 18, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Rivers State Assembly: PDP to request fresh elections for 27 defecting lawmakers

Danger averted in Port Harcourt  as 69,000 youths stopped from Rivers Assembly

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has taken a bold step in response to the recent defection of 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly to the All Progressives Congress (APC). The PDP announced its intention to demand fresh elections to replace these members, as reported on Monday.

“We will write to INEC tomorrow (Tuesday) to make our position known,” stated the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, in an interview with The PUNCH.

The defection, triggered by a division within the party, was fueled by a struggle for the position of National Secretary of the PDP. This division complicated communication channels within the party, leading to the mass defection.

The conflict traces back to the governorship election in 2023, where then-Governor Nyesom Wike reportedly supported numerous PDP figures, including Siminalayi Fubara, for governorship aspirants. However, when Fubara, the former Accountant General of the state, was selected, disagreements emerged among party leaders who felt he wasn’t a political figure involved in the party’s struggles.

Read also: SDP members defect to PDP in Rivers State

The situation escalated further when lawmakers loyal to Wike moved to impeach the incumbent governor, resulting in a split within the House. The recent defection to APC added another layer to this already tumultuous political landscape.

Furthermore. the PDP is firm in its stance, citing constitutional provisions and Supreme Court interpretations, asserting that the defected lawmakers have vacated their seats and lost their rights and privileges as members of the Assembly.

Meanwhile, Governor Fubara remained silent amid the lawmakers’ defection, focusing instead on the state’s governance matters. During the Assembly’s session, apart from the defection, legislative discussions included amendments to local government laws and condemning the attack on the Assembly.

In response, the APC welcomed the defection, seeing it as a positive development within the state’s political framework. The party attributed this move to the inclusive approach of Abdullahi Ganduje, its National Chairman, and the ongoing political transformation in Rivers State.

The complex political scenario has prompted concerns from various quarters. The coalition of Rivers Civil Society Groups urged the state Commissioner of Police to remain impartial in the political crisis to avoid further unrest.

Read also: PDP in Rivers is finished – APC caretaker chairman says

Similarly, the Ijaw National Congress called upon President Bola Tinubu to intervene and prevent actions that could lead to instability in the state.

Amidst this political upheaval, the Rivers State Executive Council approved an estimated budget of N800 billion for the fiscal year 2024. This budget, titled “Budget of Renewed Hope, Consolidation, and Continuity,” aims to drive infrastructure, education, health, and security initiatives in the state.