By Itodo Daniel Sule
Lokoja — There was confusion yesterday as the Kogi State House of Assembly declared the seat of a former speaker of the assembly, Umar Ahmed Imam, vacant for defecting from the APC to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Daily Trust reports that Imam, who represents Lokoja I State Constituency, defected to the SDP recently to contest Saturday’s Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency by-election.
The decision to declare his seat vacant followed a letter sent to the assembly by the State Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Bello, urging them to declare his seat vacant for dumping the party.
After reading the letter, the Majority Leader, Abdullahi Bello, moved the motion for Imam’s seat to be declared vacant and was seconded by the Member representing Ankpa I, Ahmed Mohammed, who described the action as timely.
Bello, while moving the motion, said there was no crisis in the APC.
Contributing, a former Speaker of the house, Momoh Jimoh Lawal (PDP Okene II), opposed the APC letter and the motion moved by the majority leader.
Lawal cited the existence of rAPC to justify his position, saying only the court could declare the seat of any member vacant.
“Mr. Speaker, you are a beneficiary of this defection. So, why was your seat not declared vacant?” he asked.
After a heated debate on the motion, the speaker declared the seat of his immediate predecessor vacant and directed the clerk of the house to convey the resolution of the assembly to INEC.
Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the former Speaker, Umar Ali, described the decision of the assembly as unconstitutional and that his principal would challenge it in court.
Ali said the move was meant to frustrate the House of Representatives’ seat ambition of the lawmaker.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, has given explanation as to why the assembly declared the seat of the former speaker vacant.
Kolawole, who spoke to journalists, said, “The seat was declared vacant based on the constitutional provisions which empower the speaker to declare such seat vacant if a member defects from one party to another when there is no crisis or merger of two or more political parties.”