Rivers Crisis: Court reverses self, says 25 lawmakers still PDP members

  • Says claimants failed to provide concrete evidence of their defection

A Rivers State High Court on Monday reversed itself on the status of Martin Amaewhule-led 27 lawmakers of the Rivers State House of Assembly.

That was after the Presiding Judge, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, in a considered judgment, held that the affected lawmakers are still members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Wosa Amadi and three other lawmakers had approached the state high court with a lawsuit seeking to declare the seats of the 27 lawmakers vacant following their purported defection to the All Progressives Congress in December 2023.

The court had, at interlocutory stage, ruled that the lawmakers had lost their seats at the state assembly, having defected from the PDP.

But in what appears a 360 degree turn, the court, on Monday, struck out the original suit filed by Amadi and three others on the account that there were no sufficient proofs before it that the 27 lawmakers actually defected.

In his judgement, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, specifically held that Martin Amaewhule and the 26 other lawmakers are still members of the PDP since the claimants had failed to prove to the court that the 27 lawmakers truly defected to the APC.

The court said defection cannot be established through newspaper publications, radio announcements or online publications.

According to the court, a defection can only be established through the party membership register, a membership card and such members fulfilling all requirements of their membership in the party.

Recall that a Rivers State High Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Friday, May 30, declared the seats of the 25 lawmakers, who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, vacant pending the determination of a suit before it.

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