Rivers Crisis: Falana Lends Voice On State Lawmakers

Femi Falana, a human rights attorney, has maintained that legislative seats held by members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who switched from the Peoples Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress were lost. 

He stated this during his appearance on Channels Television Politics Today on Sunday.

During the political impasse between Nyesom Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and former governor of Rivers State and Governor Siminalayi Fubara, twenty-five lawmakers who were loyal to Wike moved to the APC.

The SAN said the lawmakers will lose their seats as a result of switching to the APC. Citing the constitution, he said, “Unless you can show and demonstrate that there is division in a political party that sponsored your election, you cannot remain in any legislative arm if you decamp to another party.

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

The human rights attorney pointed out that a court order prevents the 25 legislators from identifying as legislators in the state and also forbids the speaker from using his title as speaker of the house.

“It may be very difficult to persuade the court to allow them to remain in the legislative house unless they are prepared to go back to the people and have their mandate renewed by the people.

“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.

The impeachment attempts by the Assembly, which was largely made up of Wike’s supporters, last year marked the beginning of the problem between Fubara and his godfather, Wike. 27 lawmakers who supported Wike later joined the APC after leaving the state’s ruling PDP. The MPs, led by Martin Amaewhule, said that the main reason they switched to the APC was internal PDP strife.

As the crisis between the duo deepen, the President, Bola Tinubu has invited the both parties and they signed a peace pact. However, things had never returned to nomalcy.

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