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Saturday, 15 July 2017

DEFECTION: C’RIVER ASSEMBLY DECLARES LAWMAKER’S SEAT VACANT




The Cross River State House of Assembly on Friday declared the seat of the lawmaker representing Obubra Constituency II, Mr. Elucate Ekom, vacant for defecting to the All Progressives Congress.


Before Ekom’s defection, all 25 members of the House of Assembly belonged to the Peoples Democratic Party.

Ekom was said to have left the PDP due to the crisis in the party.
He was said to have written a letter on Friday through the Clerk of the House, Mr. Bassey Ekpeyong, to the Speaker, Mr. John Gaul-Lebo, when the matter was raised during an emergency sitting.

The Speaker later read out the letter as one of the correspondences to the House after which he cited the constitutional provisions that the right thing to do in the absence of any relevant subsisting court order was to declare the seat vacant.

Lebo had before declaring the seat vacant asked if there was an order from the court, but the Clerk confirmed that there was none.

However, speaking with journalists after the session, Lebo stated, “Elucate Ekom caused the House to hold an executive session with him for some hours. They gave him the opportunity to withdraw his letter on the grounds that the Supreme Court had just resolved the crisis in the PDP, but he declined the appeals and option.

“He rather insisted on moving on with his decision to defect to the APC. We had no other option but to do what was constitutionally expected. His seat has been declared vacant and he said he would consult his lawyers.”

Also corroborating the position of the Speaker, the Chairman of the House Committee on Information, Mr. Mathew Olory, said there was no crisis in the state chapter of the PDP that could warrant Ekom’s defection.

Efforts to speak with Ekom proved abortive as he left the House of Assembly immediately and switched off his telephone lines.

However, the Vice-Chairman of the APC in the central senatorial district of the state, Mr. Cletus Obun, described the action of the lawmakers as barbaric.

He said, “This is a black day for democracy in Nigeria and it is a shame on the parliamentary system considering the reasons given. This is more of a melodrama and it is very disappointing.”

Ekom had penultimate week defected to the APC in his Iyamoyong community in Obubra Local Government Area of the state.

He had said that apart from the crisis in the PDP, he was happy to join the APC where his political godfather, Senator John Owan-Enoh, had also defected to.

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