FEMI Falana, Human Rights Activist, has stated why the mass defection of lawmakers at the National Assembly is illegal.
Majority of lawmakers who recently dumped the All Progressive Congress (APC) for opposition parties cited division in the ruling party. Most of them switched over to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).
The ruling party is currently engulfed in crisis presently in 24 states of the federation. The APC is also factionalised with the emergence of ‘Reformed APC’ from its fold.
Mr Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said the crisis bedeviling the ruling APC was not legally enough for the defectors to have left the party.
While the constitution enables one to freely associate where their interest is being protected, the activist says this must not be so after one is being sponsored to attain whatever position the person is currently occupying.
He said anyone willing to decamp must first resign then start afresh on the mantle of the new platform and since this has not occurred the mass defection is illegal.
The senior advocate noted that defectors were supposed to lose their seats once they dump the party on which platform they were elected in the first place.
“You cannot leave the party that sponsored your election for another party without resigning so that you can ask for a fresh mandate from the electorate,” Falana said on Thursday while analysing the matter from a legal angle during an exclusive interview with Channels Television on the sidelines of an event in Lagos.
“That has not happened in this case. What the law is saying is that before you can have a division that will necessitate or legalise your defection, the division in your party must be total.”
The lawyer insisted that a defection cannot be based on a division announcing a press conference, saying the process of leaving a party for another was more than that.
“It cannot be a figment of imagination; it cannot be an artificial fictionalisation. In this instance, I have not recognised a division envisaged by the constitution,” he said.
Falana, however, said if the crisis in the party was similar to the one witnessed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the 2015 general elections, such defection would have been justified by the law.
He recalled that Senators Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi had led factions of the opposition party which produced two sets of national officers of the PDP.