From PAUL OSUYI, Asaba
A Federal High Court in Asaba, Delta State yesterday sacked the member representing Ukwuani constituency at the Delta State House of Assembly, Mr. Alphonsus Ojo for political party carpet crossing. Ojo was elected to represent his constituency at the April 26, 2011 election on the platform of the Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP) but decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last year. He had claimed that the DPP was experiencing dwindling political fortunes due to alleged crisis as at the time he jumped ship.
But the DPP and Mr. Chukwuma Dafikpaku dragged the lawmaker before the court, claiming that his action was against the provisions of Section 109 (1) g and (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and prayed the court to declare the seat vacant. In suit number FHC/ASB/CS/129/12, the Delta State House of Assembly, the Speaker of the House and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were joined as defendants.
Delivering judgment, the court presided over by Justice C.M.A. Olatoregun-Isiola granted the prayers of the plaintiffs and averred that the second defendant (Speaker of the House) was “under mandatory responsibility to declare the seat of the 3rd defendant (Ojo) vacant.”The court also directed the 4th defendant (INEC) to immediately commence the process of conducting fresh election into the Ukwuani constituency seat at the Delta State House of Assembly. Reacting to the judgment, Mr. Ojo urged his constituents to remain calm, adding that the judgment would be studied and that the verdict would be appealed.