The factional Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Martins Amaewhule says the 27 members who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, on December 11, 2023 did so in accordance with the provisions of the law.
Amaewhule, who spoke during the APC thanksgiving/dedication service at the Port Harcourt Polo Club, New GRA Port Harcourt, insisted that the division in the PDP necessitated their defection.
Addressing party members at the dedication service, Amaewhule said, “Some days ago we defected inside the hallowed chamber of the Rivers State House of Assembly, in line with Section 109 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“We made sure that we followed due process, we made sure that we did not do anything outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“The Constitution has given room for people to defect. That is why in Section 109, Sub-section 1g, it allows serving legislators who want to defect, to do so provided there is a division in the party upon which they hold the House of Assembly.
“There is clearly a division in the PDP, so in line with that section, we defected to the All Progressives Congress.”
The factional Speaker noted that the State Assembly members chose to defect to the APC, seeing the achievements of President Bola Tinubu and his leadership style in the country.
“A lot of you may be surprised. I have not been in any other party.
“Most of us have not been in any other party but the PDP. But we made this strong decision and that decision stems from what the leader of this party in this country has started, which is the Renewed Hope Agenda.”
According to Amaewhule, the clarification became necessary following speculations on social media that the defection of the 27 lawmaker did not follow the provisions of the law.
Despite a court order barring him from parading himself as the Speaker of the House, he maintained that his faction is the authentic team that forms the State House of Assembly, emphasizing that they have the numbers.
Amaewhule, who is loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, took a swipe at the four state lawmakers headed by Edison Ehie, describing their sittings as “a meeting of four friends in a beer parlor”.
Last Monday, 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly defected from the PDP to the APC, citing division within the leadership of the PDP at the national level.
Their seats were, however, declared vacant by the current Speaker of the House, Edison Ehie, who is loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara.