Lawyer faults Akpabio’s claim on movement to APC

Akpabio shakes President Muhammadu Buhari

A legal adviser to the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom state, Mr Godwin Umoh, Wednesday said Senator Godswill Akpabio’s claim that he moved to the All Progressives Congress but did not defect is not known to law.

Umoh said his claim neither not known to law and constitution of the party nor to the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria.

“He cannot move without defecting”, he said adding that the senator was trying to be clever by half.

The former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, through his lead counsel, Sunday Ameh, had told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he was suspended and expelled by the Peoples Democratic Party in a suit seeking his removal and that of 53 other members of the National Assembly.

Akpabio had equally 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, instituted the case without a locus standi, and asked the court to dismiss it.

He argued 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, Akpabio had justified his movement in what he referred to as ‘an uncommon’ situation within the PDP, which compelled him to opt to the All Progressives Congress as an alternative party to actualise his political interest.

Akpabio’s counsel had tendered two exhibits before Justice Abang which include a suspension letter from the PDP and later an expulsion from the party at the local Government level.

He had prayed the court to accept the peculiar fact that he did not willingly leave the PDP which sponsored his senatorial election in 2015 adding that his defection to the APC was as a result of the action of the PDP against him.

But speaking in his chambers along Oron Road, Umoh said Akpabio cannot turn now to claim that he did not defect but only moved when the social media was swashed with news of his defection.

“Movement is unknown to law, unknown to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and unknown to the party constitution. What we know is defection and that is exactly what he did.

“In doing so he wrote a letter to the party that he was not willing to be there again, that he was defecting, I don’t have a copy of the letter but it was in the social media, in the news and everybody saw the letter and for the distinguished senator to talk of movement today is unfortunate.”

The former minority leaders had also claimed that the PDP was flooding as at the time of his defection.

But Umoh said “If he is talking about flooding in terms of water I might not be in a position to response because I don’t stay there, but if it is political flooding it is faulty for anybody to say so.

“After the Modu Sheriff incident, the PDP as a party became stronger and stronger than any party so for anyone to say there was flood or there was a problem obviously iam unable to understand because at that time I had always attended meetings of the leadership of the party in Ikot-Ekpene senatorial district and there was nothing like that”, Umoh said.

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