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Confusion in Rivers as court upholds pro-Wike lawmakers’ seats, PDP membership 



It’s false, misleading, says state govt


The State High Court in Rivers State has added to the confusion in the state’s House of Assembly by reportedly affirming that the 26 lawmakers that defected to the All Progressives Congress,  APC, are still members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.




According to the presiding judge,  Justice Okogbule Gbasam, the claimants failed to prove that the names of the factional speaker, Martins Amaewhule, and the 25 others are now members of the APC.



He insisted that membership of any political party was proven by the party’s register or membership card rather than television ceremonies or verbal statements and, therefore, the court could not rely on newspaper and electronic media publications as enough evidence.


The judge held that the 26 members never lost their seats and everything they did were done as authentic lawmakers since their names are still in the membership register of the PDP.



He ordered that Governor Sim Fubara to comply with all the laws passed by the lawmakers.




The ruling corresponds with the earlier one by the Federal High Court presided over Justice Kolawole Omotosho, which held that the pro-Wike lawmakers never lost their seats members of the state legislature.




Recall that the 26 lawmakers in December last year announced their defection from the PDP to the APC.




Consequently, their seats were declared vacant, having abandoned the party on which platform they were elected to the House.




However,  in another twist, the Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dagogo Iboroma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, has explained that the State High Court in the state did not declare that Martin Amaewhule and 24 others are still members of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and State House of Assembly, RSHA.




He described the news that the court affirmed the lawmakers were still members of PDP and RSHA was misleading, adding that the information was packaged to deceive the public.




In a statement in Port Harcourt, the commissioner explained that the suit in question, did not seek to declare the seats of Martin Amaewhule and 26 others in Rivers State House of Assembly vacant, adding that the suit was struck out on issues of jurisdiction.



He said: “The suit of the claimants was struck out for want of locus standi and jurisdiction and also for being an abuse of court process, which robbed the trial court of jurisdiction to adjudicate on the matter.



“As you all know, Martins Amaewhule and 26 others defected from the People’s Democratic Party to the All Progressives Congress on the 11th Day of December, 2023, and stated that much in affidavit evidence deposed to by Martins Amaewhule for himself and on behalf of 26 others in Suit No.



FHC/ABJ/1681/CS/2023 before Hon. Justice Donatus Okorowo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division. The Suit is still pending in court.



“By Section 272(3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, it is only the Federal High Court that can determine whether Martins Amaewhule and 26 others are still members of Peoples Democratic Party and also members of the Rivers State House of Assembly. This much was held by the trial court.



“However, you will recall that there is a subsisting order of interlocutory injunction in Suit No.



PHC/1512/CS/2024, restraining Martins Amaewhule and his co-travellers from further parading or presenting themselves as lawmakers in Rivers State pending the determination of the substantive suit, which has not been appealed against till date,” he added.



He urged members of the public to disregard the reports that Martins Amaewhule and the rest have been declared as members of PDP and the Rivers State House of Assembly.