Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The ex-Senate minority leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he defected from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to avoid becoming a political orphan after he was suspension and subsequent expelled from the PDP.
Meanwhile, the former Akwa Ibom State governor has urged the court to dismiss the suit seeking his removal along with 57 lawmakers from the National Assembly on account of their defection last year for being incompetent.
His counsel, Sunday Ameh, (SAN), argued that an advocacy group, Legal Aids Assistant Project, (LEDAP) which instituted the case, did so without having any locus standi.
The lawmaker insisted that LEDAP was not a political party or member of the National Assembly and as such could not cry for the political parties, where the federal law makers decamped from.
Explaining the circumstances of his defection to the APC, Akpabio told Justice Okon Abang that he was suspended from the People’s Democratic Party by his immediate ward and was later expelled from the same PDP at the local government level, adding that in line with the provision of Section 40 of 1999 constitution, he had to opt for the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the alternative party to actualise his interest.
Akpabio who tendered two exhibits to support his claim explained before the court informed Justice Abang that an uncommon situation was foisted on him, having been thrown out of PDP by the officials of the party.
He, therefore, urged the court to take judicial notice of the two letters of July and August 2018, by PDP which conveyed his suspension and later expulsion to him.
In addition, the Akwa Ibom senator prayed the court to accept the peculiar fact that he did not willingly abandon or decamp from the PDP that sponsored him in the 2015/senatorial election, but as a result of the action of the party against him.
He further told the court that he joined APC so as to prevent himself from becoming a political orphan and to actualise his political ambition.
‘In order not to fall prey into the political gang up and to avoid been turned to a political orphan, I had to take advantage of my right under Section 40 of the 1999 constitution, to join APC that was willing to accept me after PDP had thrown me out.”
Akpabio said that in the instant case, the plaintiffs should not be allowed to cry more than the bereaved because they were not PDP and federal law makers and as such their suit was incompetent, lacking in merit and liable to dismissal and should be dismissed.
His counsel to Saraki, Mahmood Magaji, (SAN), in his own argument, insisted that the suit was an abuse of court process because Section 40 of the 1999 constitution allows the defendant to associate with political parties of thier choice.
Justice Abang, after taking arguments from the parties announced that judgement and rulings in the matter earlier slates for May 17 would be delivered on condition of availability of judicial time.