The All Progressives Congress States Assembly Forum (ASAF) has officially stated that it has not yet recognized the 27 members of the Rivers State House of Assembly who defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) as its members.
The Forum (ASAF) is the umbrella body of APC state assemblies members.
The group’s decision came at the end of an emergency meeting on Tuesday in Abuja, where it, among other things, deliberated on the status of the newly-defected lawmakers.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Director General of the forum, Ambassador Fubara Dagogo, said that the forum deliberated much on the development in Rivers State House of Assembly and agreed that it would not be in a hurry to admit the defected lawmakers since their defection is still being challenged at the court.
However, Ambassador Dagogo welcomed the decision of the lawmakers to embrace the APC.
He said that ASAF will be ready to accept them as well as other defectors from other states, but insisted that it must be done under a credible and transparent situation.
The Director General had earlier pleaded with President Bola Tinubu to save the nation’s democracy by intervening in the Rivers State crisis.
He appreciated the recent move by the President to restore peace in the state.
Dagogo, however, disclosed that ASAF will deliberate further and probably admit the 27 lawmakers into its forum when it will meet again on February 18, 2024, ahead of its planned Geneva retreat in Switzerland.
The forum which also sued for peace in Rivers state, admonished the citizens to remain calm, just as it advised the Governor Fubara and other political stakeholders in the state to key into the bold move by the President and work towards restoring a lasting peace and solution to the crisis
ASAF also saluted and passed a vote of confidence in the National chairman of the ruling All the Progressives Congress (APC), former Kano state Governor, Abdullah Umar Ganduje, the National Working Committee, NWC.
It noted that his leadership style had continued to add to the popularity of the ruling party, which has continued to attract more defectors and membership to the APC.
Recall that there are conflicting reports, as well as denials over the reported agreement that was allegedly reached and signed by the various camps.
The said agreement was reached at the end of the meeting convened on Monday by President Bola Tinubu, between Governor Simi Fubara and his predecessor, Nyesom Wike.
It was to resolve the lingering disagreement that has plunged Rivers State into crisis.
Following the crisis, about 27 members of the state House of Assembly, under the leadership of the Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, said to be loyal to Wike, announced their defection from the PDP to the APC.
However, the governor’s camp, under the leadership of factional Speaker, Edison Ehie, responded by declaring the seats of the defected lawmakers vacant, citing section 109 (1) of the Nigerian constitution.
The factional Speaker and his group has formally written the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,, declaring the seats vacant, an action which the 27 lawmakers have already challenged at the court.