The Young Progressive Party has vowed to drag the lawmaker representing Anambra South Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Ifeanyi Ubah to court, over his recent defection to the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The National Chairman of the YPP, Bishop Emmanuel Amakri who stated this while speaking with Daily Sun, said that since YPP is not in any form of crisis to warrant Ubah’s defection from the party, the leadership will seek legal prayers for him to vacate his seat, which belongs to the party, not the individual.
It would be recalled that the Anambra lawmaker had last week, left the YPP which gave him the platform to be elected to the Senate, claiming the reason for his action was due to irreconcilable differences between him and the leadership of the party.
Ubah in a letter announcing his defection, which was read by Senate President Godswill Akpabio, during a brief plenary on the floor of the Senate, said: “I am willing to formally notify and inform the distinguished Senate President, and our colleagues of irreconcilable differences between me and the leadership of my party.
“I, therefore, resolved to move from the YPP to the most important party in Africa, the APC, after careful consideration, and due consultations with the members of my community, my constituents, and critical stakeholders in Anambra State.
“After a thorough evaluation of the political landscape in Nigeria, particularly the good works being done by the APC since the emergence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the president of Nigeria, I have come to the realization and conclusion that the APC is better suited to champion the ideals and principles that are known.”
However, while the Senator was well received and celebrated in his new party, the action negates provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) in Section 68(1)(G), which stipulated the conditions under which a person elected into the National Assembly could cease to hold office.
Paragraph (g) of subsection 1 of the section stipulates that a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in which he is a member, if, being a person whose election was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected. It further stated that the lawmaker will vacate his seat “provided that his membership of the latter political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member or of a merger of two or more political parties or factions by one of which he was previously sponsored.”
Relying on these provisions, Bishop Amakri vowed that the party would be taking two fundamental prayers to court for judicial interpretation of the reasons Ubah gave for leaving the party.
He said: “Since Ubah has decided to move on, the party has also decided to part ways with him. But, we will go through the normal legal means to get our rights. We will institute legal action against him because we need to establish that the party is not in any leadership crisis.
“We need to neutralise the reason he gave for leaving the party. We want to clear the air that the party’s leadership is intact and that there is nothing like irreconcilable differences in the leadership of the party.” He said: “I challenge anybody to find out from other lawmakers on our party’s platform if there is any crisis in our party. We respect every member of the party, let alone someone who holds our ticket at such an exalted position. We treat them like eggs. Our party will protect our right within the confines of the Constitution of Nigeria and within the rights and privileges of every member who has reposed confidence in my leadership.”
Confirming readiness to use the relevant constitutional provisions to wrest the mandate from Ubah, Amakri said: “It is going to be a matter of mutual understanding because Section 40 of the Constitution allows every citizen of this country freedom of association and expression. However, the same Constitution in Section 69(1)(g) is explicit on the rights of the political party who sponsored a candidate to win an election. If the candidate wins under that political platform and decides to leave, the party cannot stop the candidate just as we cannot stop Ifeanyi Ubah from leaving our party to pursue his political ambition.
“But he cannot go with our right and ticket. He must vacate his seat unless it is proven that the party is in crisis, and you know that YPP is not in any crisis. That is where we stand and nobody is fighting anybody.
“For clarity, what we will do is to take the matter before the appropriate quarter which is the judiciary to interpret for us so that we don’t fall into a situation where lawmakers will become lawbreakers.
“In summary, we will be taking two fundamental prayers to the judiciary.
“The first is for it to interpret if the party is in any form of crisis. And secondly to ensure that Ifeanyi Ubah does not run away with our ticket, which belongs to our party.”
Speaking on whether Ubah’s departure will affect the party in any way, he replied: “I think it will be too quick to say so, but let me say that in life, especially when it involves a movement such as YPP, which is a people-oriented one, nobody is indispensable including me the national chairman.
“He claimed that he left because of irreconcilable differences with the leadership of our party, but, it was difficult for him to mention even one of such irreconcilable differences he was referring to.
“He had everything he wanted at our party. Ifeanyi Ubah has done a lot of damage to himself politically with that singular decision to leave YPP for APC. If for no other thing, he would have been a hero of democracy, but he missed it with that singular decision to leave our party.”