Labour Party asks court to sack Rivers Assembly Speaker, 26 other lawmakers


Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly Martin Amaewhule presiding over the meeting at the auditorium at the auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters at Port Harcourt-Aba Road, Port Harcourt on Thursday morning.

..Demands conduct of by-elections into the 27 seats in Rivers House of Assembly

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

Labour Party has asked a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt to declare the seat of Martins Amaewhule, the Speaker of Rivers House of Assembly and 26 other members of the legislative chamber vacant for defecting from Peoples Democratic Party PDP, the platform on which they were elected into office to the All Progressives Congress APC.

The Spokesperson of the Labour Party in Rivers, Gogo Wellington said the party filed the suit because the Independent National Electoral Electoral Commission, INEC, has refused to conduct by-elections to fill the vacant positions which, according to him, automatically became vacant immediately the lawmakers dumped the party on which they were elected.

He said the party wants the court to instruct INEC to conduct by-elections within 90 days to fill the resulting vacancies.

Citing suit number FHC/PH/CS/25/2024, the Labour Party contended that the lawmakers’ defection on December 11, 2023, violates Section 109(1)(g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

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The party also argued that the lawmakers’ reason for defection, a legal dispute over the PDP’s National Secretary position, does not meet constitutional defection requirements.

Seeking alignment with the Supreme Court decision in Abegunde v Ondo State House of Assembly (2015), the Labour Party asserted in the suit that the lawmakers’ seats automatically became vacant upon defection, rendering them non-members of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

The party further seeks for an injunction restraining the defected lawmakers from sitting or presenting themselves as current Assembly members.

Moreover, the Labour Party also asked the court to declare APC’s eligibility, under constitutional provisions, to sponsor members as candidates in the bye-elections for the 27 seats.

Recall that following the widely of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the other members of Rivers State House of Assembly, the PDP had also called for fresh elections in the constituencies they represented.

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