ABUJA /Nigeria: The House of Representatives was thrown into a rowdy session, yesterday, following the defection of two Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members to ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, had read the letters of the two defecting lawmakers, Ahmed Tijani of Kogi State and Zaphaniah Jisalo of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to other lawmakers on the floor of the House.
Trouble, however, started when the acting leader of the opposition, Yakubu Barde (PDP, Kaduna), stood up to challenge the defection of his party members. Dogara, while reading the letters of defection, noted that internal crisis in the state chapters of the PDP was cited by the defecting lawmakers as reasons for their decision to defect.
Barde, who cited provisions of the constitution to buttress his point, argued that the actions of the lawmakers were in contravention of the law since the PDP was no longer in crisis.
His argument was supported by Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) who noted that the House was an institution, which members swore an oath to defend the constitution and, as such, should not condone what was happening.
The opposing lawmakers, therefore, demanded that the speaker declared their seats vacant as a matter of moral and legal obligation on his part. While Ossai was making his submission, members heard a voice calling him a fake lawyer, this led to shouts of “No, No, No.” Consequently, Diri Duoye (PDP, Bayelsa), quickly raised a point of order, citing Order 5 Rule 7 and noted that it was out of order to use offensive words against anybody making a presentation on the floor of the House.
He said: “An unreserved apology by the lawmaker should be tendered immediately before the day’s proceedings can continue.’’
Dogara at this point, requested that the Chairman, Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Orker-Jev, should guide the House on what to do. Responding Orker-Jev simply accused Ossai of saying lawmakers were making noise, sparking echoes of “no! no!no!” by PDP members.
The defection of the two lawmakers to APC has brought the number of APC representatives to 230, against PDP’s 120.