The Supreme Court on Friday, April 14, ordered an Ondo State lawmaker, Ifedayo Abegunde, representing Akure South/North Federal Constituency, to vacate his seat following his defection from Labour Party (LP) to the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
A Seven-man panel of Justices of the court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, declared that Abegunde is not fit to remain at the legislative house, noting that the lawmaker acted illegally by abandoning the party that sponsored his election.
It said that the lawmaker’s defection to another party would have been justified if there was a division in the national structures of the LP, such that is capable of impeding the smooth operation of the party.
The Supreme Court stated that the “division” or “factionalisation” of Labour Party, which was cited by the lawmaker as his excuse for abandoning the party, was only at the state level.
Abegunde was elected into the parliament on the platform of the ruling Labour Party (LP) in the April 2011 general elections, but defected to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) after a few months in the House.
Labour Party subsequently began a recall process against him and approached the court to sack the decampee lawmaker in order for the party to reclaim his seat.
The lawmaker also filed a counter motion seeking judicial protection against his recall by the Ondo State House of Assembly.