The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP caucus in the House of Representatives on Tuesday staged a walkout from the chamber while in plenary following the defection of one of their own from Imo state, Hon. Nnanna Igbokwe to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
The Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, had in a letter read during the day’s plenary, announced that Igbokwe, who represents Ahiazu Mbaise/Ezinihitte, cited division in his former party as his reason for defection.
He said he joined the APC in January 2017 before the Supreme Court decided on the leadership tussle between the then caretaker committee chairman, Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu-Sheriff.
The decampee added that he stopped attending PDP functions both in his home state and the National Assembly since January when he registered with the APC.
Present in the chamber to receive him was the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha.
But in a swift reaction, the deputy minority whip, Binta Bello, asserted that there was no division in the PDP since the Supreme Court had decided on the leadership tussle, and urged the Speaker to declare his seat vacant.
The opposition lawmakers raised several points of order including a reference to a supreme court judgment to stall the movement but it failed. They pointed out that the judgement barred members from leaving the party upon which they were elected to the House, insisting that the consequence was to lose their seat.
The Speaker however countered their position with another provision of the 1999 constitution (as amended). Immediately Dogara allowed the detection to stand, the PDP caucus in the House joined by members of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA and Labour Party, LP, staged a walk-out.
Addressing newsmen afterwards, they vowed to seek a reinterpretation of the Supreme Court judgment on member’s defection, particularly when there is no division in his or her political party.