Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja has insisted that the 37 Lawmakers who defected from the PDP should not only resign honorably but have no right to contribute to the business of the House of Representatives. He also held that these cross-carpeting lawmakers cannot effect any leadership in the house!

According to him “Having perused the arguments of counsel and the constitutional provisions, it is clear and unambiguous that the defendants were sponsored by the PDP and won the election on its platform. It is also the court’s opinion that their tenure has not expired and there is no division in the PDP.

“The defendants are, therefore, not competent to vote or contribute to any proceedings in the House of Representatives. An order of perpetual injunction is, hereby, ordered, restraining them from altering or attempting to change the leadership of the House of Reps,” Mr. Ademola said.

The PDP had on January 7 instituted a suit seeking to restrain the House of Representatives from altering the composition of its leadership.

The party had commenced the action following the defection of 37 lawmakers, who won election on its platform, to the opposition APC. The defection had initially given the APC a slim majority in the House. The majority was later reversed when some APC lawmakers decamped to the PDP.

The PDP’s counsel, Yunus Usman (SAN), had, while arguing his originating summons, faulted the cross-carpeting of the lawmakers, saying that the legislators did so during the pendency of a judgment.

He argued that by virtue of the October 2013 judgment of Justice EvohChukwu, which he claimed said there was no division in PDP, the matter had been laid to rest.

Mr. Usman had further submitted that by virtue of the provision of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution, as amended, the  lawmakers ought to have vacated their seats immediately.

The counsel to the defendants, Mahmoud Magaji (SAN), had in his submission, argued that it was wrong for the PDP to have sought to restrain its former members from House activities for defecting.

Reacting after the judgment, Mr Usman said it well delivered and was expected because he knew that his client had a solid case, while Mr. Magaji said the Lawmakers and APC will appeal the judgment.

The tone for this judgment was actually set on last week when Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the same Federal High Court asserted that the PDP cannot declare the seat of the 79 defecting lawmakers ( including Senators) vacant. And dismissed the case brought by the lawmakers seeking the protection of the court.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed held in the judgment that the PDP and its chairman, having filed two separate suits seeking to declare the lawmakers’ seats vacant, could no longer proceed with their threat to ensure that the legislators’ seats were declared vacant while the cases were still pending.

His judgment was on the suit by the 79 legislators who sued the PDP and leaders of the National Assembly over the threat by the party to declare their seats vacant.

The lawmakers included 22 senators and 57 members the House of Representatives.

Justice Mohammed held that since the kernel of the suit by the legislators was the threat by the PDP to declare their seats vacant, the threat no longer existed because the party and its chairman had realised that they have no such powers and had submitted the issue before the court for determination.

He further held that since the issue of whether or not the seats of the defecting lawmakers could be declared vacant was yet to be resolved in the pending cases, the suit by the law makers was no longer necessary.

Justice Mohammed held that the suit by the lawmakers was without any life issue and had become an academic exercise since the threat that informed their filing the suit no longer exists with the pendency of the two suits by the PDP.

He held that the lawmakers had the opportunity of arguing their position in the pending cases.  He consequently struck out the one by the lawmakers.


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