Punish Akpabio for engaging in “political prostitution” , counsel urges court
Former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio
The former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he was suspended and expelled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Senator Akpabio, through his counsel, Mr Sunday Ameh, said this on Tuesday in reaction to a suit seeking his removal and that of 53 other members of the National Assembly.
He described the suit which was filed on account of the lawmakers’ defection in 2018 as incompetent.
The lawmaker informed Justice Okon Abang that an advocacy group, Legal Aides Assistant Project (LEDAP), instituted the case without a locus standi, adding that it should be dismissed by the court.
He insisted that LEDAP was not a political party or a member of the National Assembly and as such, it cannot cry for the political parties where the lawmakers decamped from.
Relying on Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, he justified his movement through what he referred to as ‘an uncommon’ situation within (PDP), which compelled him to opt to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as an alternative party to actualise his political interest.
According to Akpabio, the treatment meted out to him, when juxtaposed with the calendar the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, issued for the 2019 general election, “the intention of the PDP was to render him with a fiat accompli so as not to have a political party to contest under as his nomination must start from the Ward level.”
He, therefore, urged the court to accept the peculiar fact that he did not willingly leave the PDP which sponsored his senatorial election in 2015.
The lawmaker insisted that his defection to the APC was as a result of the action of the PDP against him.
Akpabio’s lawyer, Mr. S. Ameh, SAN, therefore, prayed the court to distinguish his client’s case from that of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and 52 other lawmakers whose continued stay at the National Assembly is being challenged on the premise that they defected from the political party that sponsored their elections.
Ameh however tendered two exhibits before Justice Abang which included a suspension letter from the PDP and later an expulsion from the party at the local government level.
Counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Jibrin Okutepa, also made his case before the court he urged the court to disregard Akpabio’s explanations and punish him for engaging in “political prostitution.”
After listening to both the parties, Justice Abang adjourned till May 17 on condition of availability of judicial time to rule on the matter.