Reps in rowdy session as another PDP member decamps to APC
The caucus of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) got further depleted in the House of Representatives Wednesday as a member from Plateau State, Edward Pwajok defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
This is as a December 2017 dateline was given for the final decimation of PDP.
Plateau State governor, Simon Lalung said though democracy was not about a one-party state but PDP members would be left with no option than to join the ruling party by the end of the year.
House rules were stepped for the presence of the governor in the chamber to witness the defection.
This brings to 221 the number of APC member in the House.
On the 22nd of February, a member of the PDP, Emmanuel Ukoette representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency of Akwa Ibom, defected to APC.
A month later, on the 22nd of March, two House members, Tony Nwoye (Anambra) and Emmanuel Udende (Benue) defected from PDP to APC on the floor at plenary.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara read Pwajok’s letter on the floor after which the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor protested saying the movement was wrong since there is a substantive Chairman of the party.
Pwajok, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) cited irreconcilable differences that have left PDP divided at all levels as part of his reasons for dumping the party.
Saying that the party secretariat in Jos was not even spared as it was sealed last week, he noted that, “The party is divided in my Local government down to the ward level with parallel structures.
“On Saturday 13th May, 2017, over 500 delegates from my constituency besieged my residence mandating, directing and authorizing that I quit the party”.
Minority Leader Ogor protested that the party has a chairman and that until the litigation at the Supreme Court was disposed of, division within the party was not enough reason for defection.
Ogor also protested when the Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila welcomed Pwajok into the fold of APC but the Speaker placed him saying same privilege would be extended to the Minority Leader if any lawmaker defects to his party.
Goveneor Lalung, who witnessed the defection of Pwajok on the floor said Nigerians should expect a decimated opposition party in the near future.
Saying that Pwajok’s defection would open a floodgates of movement to APC, Lalong said he was not planning to muzzle the opposition in the state.
“We are not planning to turn our State into a one-party state but if APC government is very doing and everybody is moving into our party from the federal to the State, why not?
“Though we are not saying we want a one party state because we need a strong opposition to check mate the ruling party, but I’m sure, before the end of the year, with the things this government is doing both at the federal and state, we may not have a substantial minority party again.
“The movement of Pwajok has opened the gate and very soon we will see a lot of defection into APC in Plateau State,” he said.
On his part, Pwajok dismissed the threat of the PDP caucus in the House saying he was “ready for them”.
He said his defection was not about 2019, adding that besides his constituents that encouraged him to dump PDP, the party’s chairman, Ahmed Makarfi has also asked members to find alternative platforms to further their political ambitions.
“PDP is the cause of its own problem and it is irredeemably damaged.
“Some party stalwarts like governor Fayose have sworn to leave PDP if Sheriff is declared chairman. Is that how to reconcile? Was it not those people that invited Sheriff? APC did not impose him on PDD.
“Some of us complained at the initial stage that bringing Sheriff into PDP is like inviting an undertaker.
“So, I have to look at the realities and if the irreconcilable differences persists, one need to find an alternative platform.
“That is why this is taking place now and not on the eve of an election,” he said.
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