Former aide to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Umar Ardo of Adamawa State, called on Senate President Ahmad Lawan to immediately declare the position of Senator Elisha Abbo, who on Wednesday defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), vacant.
He warned the Senate president not to jeopardize the nation’s democracy because of partisan interest, as the constitution was clear about the status of anyone who deviates to another political party and the consequences of it.
Dr. Ardo, who was reacting to the defection of Senator Abbo from the PDP to the APC, said that the best the Senate President could do with the defection of Senator Abbo was to declare the senator seat vacant without hesitation.
In a statement, Ardo, who is a head of the Adamawa State PDP, said: “Given the express provision of Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 FRN constitution (as amended), and the clear interpretation of this provision by the Supreme Court, the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, owes the Nigerian State the inalienable duty to declare senator. Elisha Abbo’s post is vacant in deference to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a result of the latter’s defection from the PDP to the APC.
Having taken an oath to ‘protect and defend the constitution’, the president of the Senate is bound by his oath to declare him if he does not want to be guilty of aiding and abating the disregard of the constitution by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“If the constitution, law, rules and regulations can be engaged in changing the political interest, then our democracy, not our society, is in jeopardy by the legislature itself, the most critical element of democracy. No political interest can prevail over the constitution without threatening the very survival of our country as a democratic nation governed by law.
He said there was a clear interpretation of this provision by the Nigerian Supreme Court in the case of H.E. Ifedayo Sunday Abegunde vs Ondo State House of Assembly and others (2015) 8NWLR, (part 1461); or 2015) LPELR-24588 of the Supreme Court.
According to Ardo, “the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan, owes the Nigerian State the inalienable duty to declare the seat of Senator Abbo vacant in deference to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a result of the latter’s desertion from the PDP to APC. Having taken an oath to “protect and defend the constitution,” the president of the Senate is bound by his oath to declare it if he is not going to fall into the guilt of aiding and abating the contempt of the constitution by the Senate.
The PPD according to a reaction from the Secretary of National Advertising, Kola Ologbondiyan, said: “He is fully aware of the constitutional implication of his decision to defect to another party; which is that it cannot continue occupying the seat of the PPD in the Senate.
“The place of any senator who changes parties except for the reasons provided by the Constitution is very clear and the PPD will not allow Senator Abbo to escape our mandate. It is impossible.”
He also said that the PDP had already initiated processes for his replacement by a credible, stable and acceptable person, to assume his seat in the Senate.