The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday condemned the call on Ike Ekweremadu to defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC, to retain the position of Deputy Senate President.
The PDP made the condemnation in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of the National Caretaker Committee, Dayo Adeyeye, on Thursday in Abuja.
The party said that its attention was drawn to a statement credited to Kabiru Marafa in which he advised Mr. Ekweremadu to defect to the APC in order to retain his position.
It described the call as unconstitutional, undemocratic, adding that the section of the 1999 Constitution which Mr. Marafa quoted as backing his advice to Ekweremadu was untrue.
Mr. Marafa was quoted as saying ‘I am using this medium to call on Ekweremadu to simply decamp. Section 68(G) of the 1999 Constitution captures this.’
“There is no section or clause of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) that provides that one must be a member of the ruling party before he could be elected into any position in the Senate or the House of Representatives,” Mr. Adeyeye said.
“Equally, it is very distasteful and uncharitable for any senator to stand on the floor of the hallowed chamber and ask his colleague to violate the Constitution by cross-carpeting from his own party to join the ruling party.
“It is Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not Senate of the APC,’’ the PDP said.
“For the umpteenth time, let us reiterate that there is no faction in the PDP.
“A party is only factionalized when its organs are in disarray, but this is different in the PDP where all the organs are intact, behind the National Caretaker Committee under the chairmanship of Sen. Makarfi.
“A mere rebellion by a small interest group within the party cannot be referred to factionalisation of the party, ‘’ the statement said.
It cautioned that any PDP member using the current leadership disagreement caused by the “rebellious group’’ to defect to another party was doing so at his or her peril.
It said that Mr. Marafa or any other member of the APC had no power to make such demands on a member of the PDP.
“Let us remind Sen. Marafa that Sen. Ike Ekweremadu was elected as Deputy President of Senate by majority votes from both the PDP and APC senators.
“Any attempt to remove Sen. Ekweramadu for being a member of the opposition party and not because of a constitutional breach or incompetence is a call for anarchy.’’
The PDP recalled that the current situation in the Senate where the Senate President and his deputy were from different parties should not continue to appear strange to anybody in a democratic system.
“For instance, in the Second Republic, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Edwin Umezuoke, was from opposition NPP while the Senate President was from the Ruling Party, the NPN.
“It is worthy of note that both of them worked harmoniously with the cooperation of the Executive in moving the country forward,’’ it recalled.
The party urged the National Assembly members to remain strong and united behind Ekweremadu with determination not to allow anybody to truncate the hard-earned democracy through undemocratic tendencies.
It also called on APC lawmakers in the National Assembly to work together with other lawmakers to protect and advance Nigeria’s democracy.