The PDP has vowed to take legal action against any of its lawmakers who leaves the party, particularly amidst speculations that Ebonyi State legislators were planning to defect to the All Progressives Congress.
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said this in an interview in Abuja, on Friday.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi, had formally left the PDP to join the APC on Thursday, fuelling speculations since then that legislators at the state and federal levels were plotting to join him.
Ologbondiyan said, “That was an issue that was discussed both at the caucus and at the NEC meeting yesterday. I want to place on record that any legislator elected on the platform of the PDP in Ebonyi State will not run away with our mandate.
“I want to assure Nigerians on that. We are going to challenge it and for the first time, we are going to subject that process to judicial test because it is clearly stated in the constitution that unless there is a division within the party, you cannot be a member of the parliament and change parties. The situation we have in Imo State; we are going to test that law in the court.”
Responding to another question as to whether the PDP NWC has the powers to dissolve the Ebonyi State Executive Committee as well as the South-East Zonal Executive Committee of the party the way it did barely two days ago, the publicity secretary said the NWC’s action was well within its powers.
He said, “We have the power to act on behalf of NEC, the highest organ of the party and we have done that in this circumstance.
“The decision of the NWC to dissolve the state executive in Ebonyi and the zonal executives in the South-East stands and is accepted by NEC.”
Asked if the same would apply to the state governor, David Umahi, he said, “The constitution does not provide for the sanction of the executive arm.”
The PDP also dismissed claims by the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, that at least 10 PDP governors were holding talks with the APC with a view to dumping the party.
Ologbondiyan said, “If anybody tells you that 10 governors will leave the PDP, who would believe such nonsense? What’s the attraction in the APC? At the fullness of time, the reason for Umahi’s defection will be made known to every Nigerian.”
The PDP spokesman also said plans by the party to begin a pilot test of electronic registration of party members by the first quarter of 2021.
He also said the party would soon set up a committee to work with civil society groups, legislators and other stakeholders to work on electoral reforms that would give Nigerians an electoral system that is in accordance with global best practices.
He said, “We are also going on an electronic membership drive as you know even INEC is contemplating going for electronic election. If you look at the election that was held in Edo State where results were transferred from the units, the base of the election to the collation centre, that negated and ruled out the tendency of hoodlums to hijack results and change them.
“We believe that in our party too, we must immediately go into electronic membership drive. The NWC has got approval prior to now on the need for that and also presented it to NEC yesterday. By the first quarter of next year, we would have been able to begin the pilot scheme.”
Meanwhile, a faction of the PDP, Ebonyi State chapter on Friday said it suspended a former governor of the state, Sam Egwu, Ebonyi PDP National Assembly members, among others over their alleged involvement in anti-party activities.
A statement signed by the sacked PDP chairman in the state, Onyekachi Nwebonyi, said the affected members were required to appear before the party’s disciplinary committee to defend themselves.
The statement read in part, “In the resolution of the SWC of 13th November, 2020, they were suspended from the party for anti-party activity. They were accused to planning to destabilise the party by constituting a parallel list of executives, an evidence of which has been obtained.”
Those suspended included Senators Michael Ama-Nnachi, Ebonyi South Zone; Obinna Ogba, Ebonyi Central Zone; and Sam Egwu, Ebonyi North Zone.
Others included; Chukwuma Nwazunku; Sylvester Ogbaga; Livinus Makwe; Chris Usulor; and Victor Aleke.
Also, David Umahi, on Friday, allegedly sacked all his political appointees from the Ohaukwu Local Government Area, a day after they defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress, with him.
Reports from The PUNCH gathered that only commissioners, special assistants and senior special assistants were spared in the sacking.
The senator representing Ebonyi North Senatorial District and first civilian Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr Sam Egwu, who is opposed to Umahi’s defection to the APC, hails from Ohaukwu LGA.
The sacking of the appointees, it was gathered that it was targeted at some of the appointees who are believed to be loyalists of Egwu.