The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has hosted 27 state legislators from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who recently joined the party.
The lawmakers were received at a ceremony chaired by the Chairman of the Rivers APC Caretaker, Tony Okocha, at the Port Harcourt Polo Club on Monday.
The 26 lawmakers who attended the event were led by party leader Martin Amaewhule, who is loyal to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike.
During his speech, Okocha accused the Rivers State government led by Governor Siminalayi Fubara of masterminding the arson of the State Assembly.
He said: “I challenge the governor (Sim Fubara and the PDP) to prove to the people of Rivers that they are not the ones responsible for burning down the Rivers Assembly.
“How did the fire 'capture' the place?”
Reacting to the demolition of the State House of Assembly by the Rivers government, Okocha said the move will not deter lawmakers from discharging their legislative duties.
The Acting Chairman of the APC maintained that lawmakers could meet anywhere and make laws because the Assembly is not the building but the people within the structure.
He said: “How many days ago we were told that they broke up the meeting – as early as 7:00 in the morning – they broke up the meeting. But let's say this clearly: assembly does not create structure. The meeting is not a building. Assembly are the people who are members of the assembly.
“So our assembly members who defected to us – 27 of them – are free to meet anywhere, as long as the symbol of authority – the maze – is there.”
Speaking on behalf of the defected lawmakers, Amaewhule claimed that they are still members of the assembly despite their seats being declared vacant by the Edison Ehie group.
He said: “We made sure we followed the correct procedure. We have been careful not to do anything outside the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. The Constitution has given room for people to defect,” he told the audience composed mainly of APC leaders.
“That is why Article 109(1(G)) allows serving legislators who wish to do so, provided there is division in the party they rode to the House of Representatives. So, in accordance with that provision, we defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Follow us on Google
Journalism Standards © 2023 Naija News, a division of Polance Media Inc.