The Court of Appeal sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Wednesday, sacked the member representing Brass Constituency 1 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Daniel Charles, over his defection from the All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The APC had dragged Charles to court seeking his sack after he defected to the PDP.
Hon. Charles won the case at the Federal High Court in Yenagoa presided over by Justice Isa Dashen, which prompted the APC to proceed to the Appeal Court.
But the Justices of the Court of Appeal, Joseph Shagaor Ikyegh, Gabriel Omoniyi Kolawole, and Olabode .A. Adegbehingbe, in the suit numbered CA/PH/79/2022, said the decision of the lower Court (Federal High Court) delivered on the 11th of January on the legality of his defection is set aside and that upon his defection from the APC being the platform on which he was elected, Hon. Daniel Charles should have vacated his seat at the State House of Assembly on 14th April 2021 by the virtue of sections 109(1)(g) and (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Appeal, which had Hon. Daniel Charles, the Speaker of the Bayelsa House of Assembly, Rt.Hon. Abraham Ngobere and the State House of Assembly as respondents, also declared that the 2nd and third respondents (speaker and the House of Assembly) were under constitutional and legal duties by the virtue of section 109(1)(g) and (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, to declare the seat of the First Respondent (Hon. Daniel Charles)as member representing Brass Constituency 1 at the Bayelsa House of Assembly vacant.
The court also issued an order declaring the seat vacant and directed that the 1st respondent (Daniel Charles) should, with immediate effect, return all salaries, allowances, and other emoluments received from the 14th of April, 2021 as a member representing the Brass Constituency 1 of the State House of Assembly. It also ordered that the three respondents pay the cost of N250,000 each to the Appellant (the APC).
Reacting to the ruling of the Court of Appeal, Charles described it as unfortunate, considering his inalienable right to freedom of association.
He said he believes strongly that the Supreme Court will give a favourable judgment and ratify his mandate. He enjoined the people of Brass Constituency I, especially his supporters, to remain calm and hopeful as he plans to appeal the verdict in the coming days.
“From the very moment we joined the PDP, the plan of the opposition party was to distract us with litigation, but by the grace of God, we will continue to remain focused and deliver the dividends of democracy to our people. So there is no cause for alarm,” he said.