Defection of Rep angers PDP, causes showdown in house
The defection of Mr. Raphael Igbokwe, a member of House of Representatives to All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday caused a stir at the plenary.
Igbokwe, who represents Ahiazu Mbaise/Ezinihitte Federal Constituency of Imo State, declared that he had defected to the APC on the floor of the House.
The defection angered members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the House of Representatives.
They subsequently walked out of the plenary.
After informing the House of his decision of his defection, opposition PDP asked the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, to declare Igbokwe’s seat vacant.
The Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Mrs Binta Bello, who raised a point of order after the defection, cited section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution, insisting that the Igbokwe’s seat should be declared vacant.
But the Speaker ruled against her position after which the opposition lawmakers angrily walked out of plenary in protest.
They argued that rather ruling against their position, the Speaker ought to have called for an investigation into the provision of the Constitution on the matter.
Imo State Governor, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, was also at the session to witness the defection.
Igbokwe, 45, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2011.
Meanwhile, members of the Senate at the plenary have criticised the 2018 Appropriation Bill presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
At the resumption of Legislative proceedings, Senators complained that 2018 budget is filled with inaccuracies, budget padding and inconsistencies.
The Senate is maintaining that it cannot complete work on the 2018 budget in January as requested by the Executive.