Defection: C’ River PDP Lawmakers sue Speaker, 17 Others
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
The frosty relationship between members of the Cross River State House of Assembly have headed for the worse as Seven People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members have dragged the Speaker and 17 other members who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to Court.
They are accusing the Speaker and Principal Officers of deliberately sharing allowances accruing to PDP House members among themselves as punishment for refusing to defect to the APC.
Recall that 18 House members had join Governor Ben Ayade in APC as soon as the Governor dumped the umbrella Party while seven remained in the PDP.
The suit filed by the Seven PDP members came up for hearing in the vacation Court, situated at Moore Road, Calabar on Tuesday.
Spokesman for the plaintiffs and member representing Calabar municipal Area Council in the House, Rt. Hon Efa Esua, in an interview, said the defendants have accordingly filed their defense.
“They have filed their defense and preliminary objection to the suit and served us a day to hearing but we are entitled to some days to file our response and so the matter was adjourned to September 14, 2021 for arguments on the motion on preliminary objection.
“We did not take the State government to court as insinuated. We took our colleagues, 18 of them who defected to the APC, to Court. Our colleagues, led by the Speaker, have constituted a law to themselves.
“When our money comes from the State government, after taking their own, they would sit down and share our own allowances among themselves, that is overhead and local government allowances.
“They have done that for the past three to four months purporting to obey instruction from the higher authority. This is what they have done to seven of us who refused to defect with them to APC.
“We are praying the court to cause them to give us our monies, that is; what is due us, to us. The clerk of the Assembly is trying to deny, saying that there is no such thing and that allowances are used in running the affairs of the Assembly but we have documents to show how they shared our money,” he submitted.
Esua also lamented that in the Cross River Assembly of today, there is nothing like majority and minority leadership as should be the case because those who defected were yet to formally do so on the floor of the House.
Explaining, he said, “for instance the Deputy Leader, Rt. Hon Fred Osim, who is still remaining in PDP with us, is still being addressed as ‘Deputy Leader.’ As we speak, there is no majority leader and no minority leader.”
Efforts to speak with the Speaker, Rt. Hon Eteng William, over the matter was unsuccesful as his phone lines could not connect. However, his Chief Press Secretary, Hope Obeten, when contacted, said Rt. Hon William would not discuss the matter since it was still pending in court.
Corroborating, member representing Biase State constituency, Rt Hon Ogbor Ogbor Udop, who also defected, said discussing the issue would be prejudicial. He described the allegation as strange.