Benue State House of Assembly yesterday witnessed a stormy session resulting in fisticuffs following the defection of the member representing Obi State Constituency, Hon. Nick Eworo, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that while announcing his defection on the floor of the House last week, Eworo had explained that he was unduly expelled from the PDP, maintaining that his defection to the ruling APC was to enable him operate effectively in the House. His action was denounced by the leadership of the PDP, both at the state and ward levels.
Consequently, members of the PDP in the House, led by Hon. Iaana Jato, representing Katsina-Ala East, argued that Eworo automatically loses his seat based on Section 109 of the Nation’s constitution, which states that once a member of a legislative house defects to another party, he automatically loses his seat.
However, the Speaker, Terkimbir Ikyange, adjourned further comment on the matter to yesterday, owing to lack of time.
But when the Assembly resumed sitting yesterday, the Speaker announced a correspondence from the APC indicating its majority in the House owing to Eworo’s defection.
This, the PDP members, armed with the constitutional provision on defection, objected and further maintained that even the constitution of PDP do not give the party any power to expel any elected member at the local level.
They, therefore, stated that the expulsion did not hold water and must be jettisoned.
However, the APC members stated strongly that the expulsion of Eworo from PDP had compelled him to join their party, adding that his action did not breach any constitutional provisions.
They urged the Speaker to consider him (Eworo) as a bonafide member of the APC.
It was at this point that push came to shove and Hon Benjamin Adanyi, an APC member representing Makurdi South constituency, slapped his kinsman, Hon Aza Martins, a PDP member representing Makurdi North.
Expectedly, Aza did not fold his arms but held onto Adanyi’s clothes while Adanyi held onto his.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of the APC selected Hon Adanyi as Majority Leader of the House.
This was contained in a letter read by the Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange during yesterday’s plenary.
It also selected Hon Eworo as the Deputy Majority Leader while Mr Titus Uba was selected as the Chief Majority Whip.
In his remark, Ikyange said the House was also expecting a letter regarding the selection of the minority principal officers.
He said that the explanations of the PDP did not convince him to act to the contrary.
Ikyange, therefore, said that the selection of the above mentioned principal officers was sustained and urged the PDP to go to court and seek interpretation of the said constitutional provision on defection of elected officers if it was not satisfied with the position of the House.

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