Amidst rumours of an impending defection of lawmakers from Benue state in the National Assembly from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to either the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the Social Democratic Party (SDP), the caucus has said it does not have such a plan for now.
Leader of the Benue caucus in the House of Representatives and chairman rules and business committee, Hon. Emmanuel Orker-Jev, disclosed this in an interview in Abuja.
Orker-Jev, who is also a member of the nPDP negotiating team with the presidency said although there were very many issues the caucus had with the ruling party and the administration, it was not considering abandoning the party.
He said even if it got to a stage where members of the caucus who belong to the APC would decide to ditch the party, such defections will be done on individual basis and not as a group.
“There is no such plan by the caucus to leave the APC. It is true that we have issues with the party, which are real and have even been acknowledged by the presidency, we are discussing.
“Although, the reconciliation talks have been suspended for now, we are not thinking of abandoning the party. We contributed immensely in building the party and cannot just leave the party”
Explaining further, Orker-Jev noted that “but let me make this point clear. I was elected to the House by my constituents to represent their interest and if that is threatened at any point, I will always speak out. However, even if some persons decide to defect from the APC, everybody will do it on his own accord and not as a group”, he clarified.
The lawmaker, who is challenging Senator George Akume for the Benue North-West senatorial seat also denied that he has been contacted by the Social Democratic Party (SDP) insisting that he was still a member of APC and would seek election on its platform.
“I have not been contacted by anybody in the SDP. I remain a member of APC and I am running for the senatorial seat. And as I have said, if I am going to leave the party, it will be a personal issue”
On why he is part of the nPDP whereas he joined the APC from the ACN, Orker-Jev explained that “My first appearance to the House in 2007 was on the ticket of the PDP. This is a fact that most people do not know. Therefore, people should not make any issue out of this. We have genuine grievances and we have presented them to the leadership and we believe that they will be duly resolved”.
The chairman, House committee on rules and business also applauded the 8th House under the leadership of Speaker Yakubu Dogara for its performance in the last there years. He said no House has attained the milestone they have reached.
“I think we have done well. I don’t want to compare this Assembly with the 7th House, but in the 7th House, about 700 bills were introduced and 123 passed. But in the last three years, we have introduced 1743 bills, while 222 have been passed.
“We have also passed historic bills such the NABRO bill to strengthen and reform the budget, we have passed the Not too young to run bill and very many of them. This is remarkable”, he stated.