Defection: 37 Reps Appeal Ruling To Vacate Seats

Hon.-Speaker-House-of-Representative-Aminu-Tambuwal-360x225[1]

The 37 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members of the House of Representatives, who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) have appealed the Abuja High Court ruling that they ought to vacate their seats.

Delivering judgment in a matter brought by PDP asking that the legislators should not be allowed to take part in the activities of the assembly, presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, held that the lawmakers no longer had any business, morally and legally in the assembly.

However, describing the ruling as a miscarriage of justice, the lawmakers vowed not to vacate their seats because there was no court judgment in the House of Representatives directing to that effect.

Justice Ademola had said: “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,” Ademola said.

However, in the notice of appeal appeal filed on their behalf by M. A. Mahmud, SAN & Co, which have been sent to Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, the appelants said the trial judge erred in law when he dismissed the their preliminary objection on grounds that the suit was not competent.

They listed particulars of error to include:

•The judge did not advert his mind to provisions of Section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution; failed to reckon his mind with the provisions of Section 60 and failed to follow the decisions in the cases of Attorney General of the Federation and 22 others.

They also contended  that the judge erred when he refused to hold that the first respondent does not have the locus standi to institute the suit, when he granted the reliefs of the first respondent and went further to hold that the 1st -39th respondents ought to have resigned their seats.

•That the first respondent’s suit was predicated upon speculations and that the reliefs sought were not justifiable, unknown to law and do not disclose any cause of action against the appellants.

In all, the defected members mentioned seven particulars of error and sought an order setting aside the decision of the Federal High Court as well as an order allowing the appeal.

The appela in in sync with the position of the APC caucus in the House of Representatives, which also said on Tuesday that Justice Ademola was not competent to give his opinion in the matter on the defection of 37 members of the assembly.

Minority Whip, Rep. Samson Osagie, who briefed newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday,  said the matter before the court was that of removal of principal officers of the assembly.

He said: The import of Monday’s ruling was that our 37 members cannot participate in the removal of principal officers of the House, nothing more, nothing less.

“Other pronouncements by the judge as to the status of the 37 members of the House were mere opinion.

“This judgment was given in vain and in ignorance of the House Rules which governs the appointment of party leaders in the parliament.

“It is also an attempt by the court to meddle in the internal affairs of the parliament; this certainly is not the import of the doctrine of judicial review in administrative law.

“As we speak, our colleagues have appealed against this vexatious ruling and we have the notice of our appeal this afternoon.

“The notice of appeal has been served on the House and it is before the Court of Appeal,” Osagie said.

The minority whip described the ruling by the judge as `misleading’ adding that there was a need for the caucus to put the matter in its proper perspective.