The member representing Ondo East and West in the House of Representatives, Hon Peter Makinde on Tuesday defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Makinde’s defection was however opposed by members of the minority caucus in the House in the absence of the entire leadership of the caucus who were not present at plenary when the defection was announced.
In a letter read on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Hon. Makinde said he decided to leave the ADC as a result of the crisis rocking the party at all levels.
Before reading the letter, the Speaker had asked some members of the Minority caucus to fill the seat of the Minority Leadership since none of them was on the floor.
However, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai who spoke on behalf of the caucus said the action breached the provisions of section 68 of the 1999 constitution as amended, adding that the Speaker should do the needful by declaring the seat vacant.
Ossai (PDP, Delta) said part of the provisions of the law is that the person defecting from the party that sponsored his election must present to the House evidence of why he was defecting.
Responding, Speaker Gbajabiamila said the evidence of defection contained in the constitution can either be vernal or oral, saying “I have just read the letter from the member on why he was defecting. Since I have been in this House, this has always been the order.”
He asked Ossai if he was aware of who the National Chairman of the ADC is, adding that “since you don’t know the name of the Chairman of the party where he is defecting from, that makes you a meddlesome interloper in Law and so, you do not have the locus to raise the observation. You are therefore ruled out of order.”
Few minutes after the ruling, some members of the Minority Leadership led by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu walked into the chamber.