_By Umoh-Obong Kingsley_
The statement by Senator Godswill Akpabio, that he never defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but only moved into the All Progressives Congress (APC), has been dismissed, with the former Governor likened to a faulty capsized boat.
During a chat with journalists in his office on Wednesday, the Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, Barr. Goddy Umoh, stated that what Akpabio termed as movement is not known to the law, or the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He said: “What we know is defection and that is exactly what he (Akpabio) did. He wrote a letter to the party that he was not willing to belong to PDP again. It was the news all over the country. For him to talk of movement today, ordinarily he has capsized like a very bad boat.”
On the flooding in PDP as presumed by Akpabio, Barr. Umoh emphasized: “If he is talking about flood in terms of water, I might not be in position to speak on that because I’m not living there.
“But if he is talking about political flood, it is very faulty for anybody to say that the party was flooded and he never at any point in time came back to us to say that he was no longer interested.
“It is on record that the first undertaking of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District to give Sen. Akpabio the mandate was at his house in Ukana and I read on behalf of the people of the district by the stakeholders. We gave him the mandate, only to wake up one morning to hear that he has left the party.
“If that is what he calls movement, it is conjectures in terms of terms. There is nothing like movement. It is either you defect or decamp in the manner we all understand.
“Certainly, what he did was not known to anybody in the party.
“After the Sheriff’s incident, the PDP as a party became stronger than any other party. So it is ridiculous for anybody to say that there was flood in the party.”
Barr. Umoh who is a stakeholder from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District described as very wrong Akpabio’s claim that wards and chapter executives suspended or expelled him from the party thereby frustrating his reelection.
“In all sincerity, that is wrong and I do not agree to it. A ward or chapter executive cannot suspend a Senator.
” Any disciplinary action for a sitting Senator who is a member of the National Executive Council is done at the National leadership of the party.
“Above all, I would have been aware if something like that was to happen. In the law, expulsion from the party is not any or one of the grounds that one needs to throw to the able to defect.”
He cited Sections 68 and 109 of the Constitution which state that the only acceptable grounds for anyone to defect, and anything contrary to that would make anyone lose his/her seat.
On why the PDP did not challenge Akpabio’s defection, Barr. Umoh said it is a matter of choice. “If anyone harms you, you have the choice to either go to court or not. We have the choice and it wasn’t the intention of the party to go to court.”
The PDP Legal Adviser wondered why the former Senate Minority Leader went to court to prevent the National Assembly from declaring his seat vacant, if he was not scared.