Abuja - The opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) challenged orders barring the defection of the 11 People's Democratic Party from defecting to its ranks.
In a statement, APC argued there was no valid court order barring the defections.
"What this order means is that neither the President of the Senate nor the Speaker of the House can declare vacant the seats of the defecting lawmakers. It does not mean the letter of notification from defecting members cannot be read on the floor of the chambers," stated APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed from Illorin.
The party said that in view of this, the argument that the defecting letter could be read on the floor, so as not to contravene the Senate's Standing Rules that precludes the upper chamber from discussing any matter that is already in court, did not apply in this case.
"We are not asking that the issue of the defection should be discussed or debated on the floor of the Senate. All we are saying is that the Senate President should read the letter of notification. The coast is very clear for this to be done, and the Senate President is duty bound to do so."
APC added, "Those who may somehow be engaging in wishful thinking that the 11 Senators can be tactically prevented from defecting from the PDP to the APC must know that it is too late in the day for anyone to stall the move on the basis of a non-existent court order or a Standing Rule that will only be operational if indeed there is a court order expressly concerning the Senators' letter. The act of defection by the 11 Senators took place the moment they handed their letter to the Senate President at 10 am on the morning of Wednesday 29th of January 2014 whether or not the Senate President goes ahead to read the letter. Therefore, trying to stall the defection by stonewalling on the letter or attempting to secure a dubious injunction especially when our lawyers were not served the motion papers until about 4pm of the same Wednesday is like seeking to abort a pregnancy when the baby has already been born."
The ruling party has been hit by defections ahead of the general election scheduled for next year.
Bamanga Tukur resigned as the party's chairman last month owing to the tensions.
- CAJ News