Monday, January 20, 2014

Court Restrains APC From Changing House Of Reps Leadership


An Abuja Federal High Court on Monday restrained members of the House of Representatives that defected to the All Progressive Congress (APC) from changing the leadership of the House, pending the determination of a suit before the court.

Justice Ademola Adeniyi ruled that the House members should wait till February 3 when the substantive suit and preliminary objections by the defendants will be heard.
A suit was filed before the High Court by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 
The ruling party asked the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction that would restrain the Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal and 52 other lawmakers from taking any steps to change the leadership structure at the lower legislative chamber of the National Assembly.
Members of the House, however, claimed that this was an issue within domestic affairs of the House upon which the court may not have jurisdiction.
In an eighteen paragraphed counter-affidavit deposed to by one Mr. Mike Msenge, the defendants told the court that from prolonged practice of the House of Representatives (1st defendant), the political party with majority of members in the House forms its core leadership.
"The Plaintiff/Applicant is not a human being but is one of the registered political parties in Nigeria. The leadership seats in question are being occupied by the 2nd-8th defendants, who are human beings.
"That I have perused the Constitution of Nigeria and have not seen anywhere the Plaintiff/Applicant has voting rights with respect to the enthronement or removal from office of any or all of the 2nd -8th defendants.
"That before the defection of the 12th – 53rd defendants from the plaintiff to the APC, the plaintiff had majority membership in the 1st defendant; hence the 2nd-8th defendants, being members of the plaintiff, were elected into those leadership positions they are currently occupying in the 1st defendant.
"But with the defection of the 12th-53rd defendants from the plaintiff to the APC on December 18, 2013, the plaintiff has lost its majority status, which has switched to the APC," reads the document in parts.
They also argued that the PDP's suit is not justiciable. The argued that the election and removal of the Speaker is an internal affair of the House which no political party has the jurisdiction to dabble into.
To recall, an ongoing defection wave from the PDP to the APC has made the latter a majority party in the House of Representatives. The APC gained a slim numerical advantage before the lawmakers proceeded on the Christmas/New Year break on December 19.

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