Our chief concern proper right here is to debate the licensed penalties of the current spate of social gathering defection by members of the Peoples Democratic Event (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC). We are going to depart the obligation of recounting Nigeria’s historic previous on carpet crossing to historians and shall not be bordered by it. We are going to moreover not allow ourselves to be drawn into arguments as to the morality/propriety of carpet crossing.
The media is awash with the knowledge of the defection of 37 PDP members of the Residence of Representatives to the APC. Already, 5 PDP governors have dumped the social gathering for the APC. The collapse of the PDP as a result of the ruling social gathering in Nigeria and as Africa’s biggest political social gathering seems imminent as unconfirmed opinions say that twenty-two senators are planning to moreover dump the social gathering for the APC.
Nigerian laws on carpet crossing begins and ends with the provisions of Sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Construction of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These sections current that:
“a member of the Senate or Residence of Representatives or State Residence of Assembly shall not vacate his seat inside the Residence of which he is a member if being a person whose election into the Residence was sponsored by a political social gathering, he turns right into a member of 1 different political social gathering sooner than the expiration of the interval for which the Residence was elected.
Equipped that his membership of the latter political social gathering is not going to be on account of a division inside the political social gathering of which he was beforehand a member of a merger of two or further political occasions by one among which he was beforehand sponsored.”
It is attention-grabbing to note that not just like the purport of above provisions, Sections 135 and 180 of the talked about Construction which provides for circumstances beneath which the President or his Vice, and a Governor or his Deputy would possibly cease to hold office does not level out social gathering defection as a ground for vacating or ceasing to hold office.
From the above provisions on account of this reality, Nigerian laws on carpet crossing may be summarized as follows nigerian newspapers:
1. A Legislator in Nigeria would possibly lose or vacate his seat in parliament if he defects from the social gathering that sponsored him into the Legislative Residence to a distinct social gathering.
2. A Nigerian Governor, Deputy Governor, President or Vice President can’t vacate or cease to hold office for defecting from the political social gathering that sponsored him into office to a distinct.
three. Sooner than a Legislator in Nigeria may be made to lose his seat in parliament for defecting to a celebration aside from the one which sponsored him into the Residence, the principal officer of that Legislative Residence( the Senate President, the Speaker of the Residence of Representatives or the Speaker of the State Residence of Assembly as a result of the case is also) or a member of that Legislative Residence ought to first present proof satisfactory to the Legislative Residence concerned member has defected from the political social gathering that sponsored him into the Residence to a distinct political social gathering and has by operation of laws vacated his seat in Parliament.
4. It follows from the above that if there is not a satisfactory proof provided to the Legislative Residence on a member’s defection, the member who’s alleged to have defected can nonetheless retain his seat. He’ll nonetheless proceed to be acknowledged and addressed as a member of the social gathering that sponsored him into the Residence.
5. A Legislator in Nigerian can cross carpet to a celebration aside from the one which sponsored him into the Residence and nonetheless protect his seat if he can present that his defection was on account of a division inside his former social gathering.
6. Moreover, a Legislator in Nigeria is just not going to lose/vacate his seat though he has defected from the social gathering sponsored him to a distinct social gathering if he can present that his membership of a model new social gathering is on account of a merger of two or further political occasions or factions by one among which he was beforehand sponsored.
The place that whereas a Legislator in Nigeria is liable to lose his seat in parliament for cross carpeting to a distinct social gathering, the President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor is not going to be liable and cannot be compelled to vacate or cease to hold office for the same trigger was endorsed by the Nigerian Supreme Courtroom docket inside the case of AGF V. Atiku Abubarkar (2007)4 S.C (pt.11)62 the place the problem sooner than the courtroom was whether or not or not the Vice President’s defection from the PDP( on whose platform he was elected into office) to the Movement Congress of Nigeria(ACN) meant that he had routinely vacated and ceased to hold that office.
The Supreme Courtroom docket held that it’s simply Legislators which may be liable to vacate their seats in parliament for defection to a singular social gathering from the one which sponsored them into office. The supreme held that the construction does not envisage or current for the vacation /cessation of the office of the President, Vice President, Governor or Deputy Governor for defection from the social gathering that sponsored them into office to a distinct social gathering. The Apex courtroom held on account of this incontrovertible fact that Vice-President Atiku Abubarkar was entitled to take care of and/or in office though he had effected from the PDP to the ACN.
As soon as extra, the place legislator may lose his seat in parliament for cross carpeting to a distinct political social gathering has been affirmed by the courtroom in some picks. As an illustration, the Federal Extreme Courtroom docket of Nigeria sitting in Akure inside the case of Hon. Ifedayo Sunday Abegunde v. The Ondo State Residence of Assembly & Ors. sacked Mr. Abegunde, a Residence of Representatives member representing Akure North and South, Ondo State for defecting from the Labour Event to the ACN. Mr Abegunde had been elected into the Residence beneath the auspices of the Labour Event inside the April 2011 Widespread Elections. He nonetheless, defected to the ACN in the midst of the international cash of the tenure of the Residence. The courtroom held that Mr Abegunde had vacated his seat and ceased to be a member of the Residence by operation of laws. This dedication was affirmed and upheld by the Courtroom docket of Appea in Re Hon. Ifedayo Sunday Abegunde v. The Ondo State Residence of Assembly & Ors. (2014) LPELR-23683(CA),Enchantment No.CA/AK/110/2012.
As soon as extra, inside the case of Hon. Michael Dapialong v. Chief (Dr) Joseph Chibi Dariye, Enchantment No. S.C 39/2007 the Supreme Courtroom docket took judicial uncover of the reality that between 25th and 26th July,2006, fourteen members of the twenty-four members of the Plateau State Residence of Assembly along with the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker thereof defected from the PDP platform on whose they’ve been elected to the Residence in 2009 to the Superior Congress of d Democrats(ACD) on account of which the talked about 14 members have been held to have vacated their seats by operation of laws.
Relying on the Supreme Courtroom docket dedication in AGF V. Atiku Aburbakar on account of this reality, we’re in a position to safely conclude that the 5 PDP Governors that had defected to the APC can validly accomplish that with out being liable to vacate or cease to hold their locations of labor. It’s as a result of the Construction merely does not penalize the President, Vice President, a Governor or Deputy Governor who dumps the social gathering that sponsored him into office for a further social gathering. Moreover, not like Legislators, these members of the chief arm of Authorities aren’t required to proffer explanations or causes to justify defection.
Nonetheless, some people have argued that though the Construction does not penalize defection by Governors, the Supreme Courtroom docket dedication in Rotimi Amaechi v INEC Enchantment No. SC 525/2007 may be relied upon to impression the vacation from office of Governors who defect from the occasions that sponsored them into office to a distinct political social gathering sooner than the expiration of their tenure. Acording Mr Dan Nwayanwu, Chairman of the Labour Event of Nigeria, the Supreme Courtroom docket’s dictum in Amaechi’s Case to the impression that it is the political social gathering and by no means the candidate for which the residents stable their votes may be interpreted and utilized to suggest that Governors who get elected into office solely to dump the social gathering that sponsored them into office for a further social gathering must vacate or cease to hold office upon defection.
Mr Dan Nwamyawu in an interview granted to Sunday Perception Newspapers in 2007 advocated that Governors who defect to occasions aside from people who sponsored them into office should be kicked out of office on the premise of the selection in Amaechi v. INEC. We humbly disagree with this place. It’s as a result of the Construction does not impose any penalty or licensed incapacity on carpet crossing by Governors. Secondly, the Supreme Courtroom docket in Amaechi’s Case did not resolve the problem of the consequence of a Governor’s defection from his social gathering. Fairly, the question in Amaechi’s case was whether or not or not a person who did not contest an election may be heard to drawback an election or be declared as Governor. The selection in AGF V. Atiku Abubarka for all intents and features stays the authoritative exposition of the laws on social gathering defection in Nigeria.
It is by now previous doubt that the 5 PDP governors who had defected to the APC are entitled to take motion with none attendant penalty or licensed incapacity. Nevertheless can the an identical be talked about of the 37 members of the Residence of Representatives members who’ve defected to the APC? Can they validly dump the PDP for the APC with out dropping their seat in parliament?
By a letter addressed to the Speaker of the Residence of Representatives, titled ‘Communication of Change of Political Event’ and dated the 18tth December, 2013, the 37 defecting Federal Lawmakers outlined that their defection from the PDP to the APC was on account of the inside catastrophe contained in the PDP. The Lawmakers moreover premised their defection from the PDP to the APC on the reality that the PDP has broken into two factions: the New PDP and the Outdated PDP. The so-called New PDP consisting of the dissatisfied and disgruntled members of the social gathering, practically all of whom have defected to the APC.
It is to be recalled that in Agundade’s case, he had argued that given the inside catastrophe, division and factionalization contained in the Labour Event, he was entitled by benefit of the proviso in Half 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Construction to defect from the Labour Event to the ACN with out dropping or having to vacate his seat inside the Residence. The courtroom nonetheless dominated that since he could not present division or factionalization contained in the Labour Event, he was not entitled to take care of or retain his seat after he decamped to the ACN. That he vacated his seat upon defection to the ACN by operation of laws.
The proviso to the provisions of Half 68(1) (g) and 109(1) (g) of the 1999 Construction are to the impression that although a Legislator would ordinarily lose his seat if he defects to a celebration completely totally different from the one which sponsored him into the Legislative Residence, he is entitled to take care of his seat if he can present that:
1. He defected to a model new social gathering on account of division contained in the social gathering that sponsored him into the house.
2. His membership of the model new social gathering is on account of the merger of two or further political occasions or factions by one among which he was beforehand sponsored.
Sooner than we proceed to have a look at whether or not or not the inside catastrophe rocking the PDP falls contained in the proviso to Sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1) (g) of the Construction, it is pertinent to seek out out what constitutes division in a political social gathering. The construction does not define phrase “division”. The Oxford Superior Learners Dictionary of Current English, sixth Model, defines division as a disagreement or distinction in opinion or way of life and lots of others significantly between members of a society or an organization.
According to Professor Okey Okon of the South Central School, California, USA, division would possibly come up from:
1. Ideological variations and
2. Organizational variations.
Organizational variations denote battle, division, catastrophe and lots of others arising on account of the way in which through which and technique the social gathering is run, operated or managed. In actuality, all conflicts and crises arising from the administration and operation of the pure development of the political social gathering fall beneath the category of organizational variations. Battle, division or crises arising from organizational variations bordering on such factors as internal democracy mechanism of the social gathering, conduct of primaries election, funding, election of principal officers of the social gathering, adoption of candidates as social gathering flag bearer for election, coping with of social gathering funds, planning and execution of election advertising and marketing marketing campaign strategies and lots of others come beneath organizational variations.
It is a notorious incontrovertible fact that the PDP has from inception been bedeviled by internal crises introduced on by the incidence of undemocratic practices contained in the social gathering. The defecting 37 Federal Legislators have alleged that their defection from the PDP to APC was on account of division and internal crises contained in the social gathering and that they are entitled to take care of their seats in parliament. We don’t know the particulars of the alleged division or crises contained in the PDP however when their allegations are true then they’re entitled to take care of their seats in parliament.
We are going to now flip our consideration to the problem of whether or not or not ideological variations characterize division as to entitle a defecting legislator to retain his seat in parliament. Ideological variations pertains to battle, disagreement, catastrophe or division arising from a battle between a celebration member’s ideas, beliefs, conviction, guidelines, philosophy or protection with these of his political social gathering. When a member disagrees collectively along with his social gathering’s ideas, insurance coverage insurance policies, functions, philosophy or guidelines on socio- political or monetary factors does this disenchantment or disagreement collectively along with his social gathering entitle him to defect to a distinct social gathering with out having to lose/vacate his seat in parliament? Does this battle or disagreement collectively along with his social gathering characterize division as envisaged by the proviso in Sections 68(1)(g) and 109(1)(g) of the 1999 Construction?