Some Peoples Democratic Party members of the House of Representatives protested loudly on Wednesday as a popular member, Mr. Edward Pwajok, dumped the opposition party.
Pwajok, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress at the session, which was presided over by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
He represents Jos South-East Federal Constituency of Plateau State.
His defection received the compliments of the state Governor, Mr. Simon Lalong, who was present on the floor of the House to witness the development.
However, the PDP members were not happy losing the “resourceful” Pwajok to the APC, an action that further depleted the ranks of the leading opposition party.
From its 139 membership strength at the inception of the current 8th Assembly on June 9, 2015, the number has dropped to around 134, as at least four members have left the party.
Pwajok is reputed to lead sound debates on the floor and he is credited with several bills and motions considered to be useful.
The majority APC has risen to almost 220 members, up from 214 in 2015.
As Dogara read his defection notice, the PDP members led by the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, began protesting and demanding that the SAN should vacate his seat.
Pwajok told the House that he was forced to leave the PDP because there was division within its ranks at all levels, from the national leadership down to the ward level in his state.
Part of his notice read, “There are divisions in the PDP at the national level between the (Ali Modu) Sheriff and the (Ahmed) Makarfi factions, and also in my state between the Badung and Sango factions, which led to the sealing of the party’s secretariat in Jos on the 12th of May, 2017.”
But, Ogor opposed his reason, saying that he should vacate his seat in line with Section 68 of the 1999 Constitution.
He denied that the PDP had divisions or had factions, adding that a recent Court of Appeal decision had recognised Ali Modu-Sheriff as the National Chairman of the party.
Ogor, a lawmaker from Delta State, added, “The division he is hiding under does not exist in the PDP. The constitution is unambiguous, If there are no divisions, you cannot come here to talk about factions. Where a court has said that Sheriff is the chairman, is there a division? It means the party is one as we speak.”