Defection: Court stops APC lawmakers from changing House leadership

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BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI & EMMAN OVUAKPORIE

ABUJA—Temporary  respite came the way of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, restrained members of the House of Representatives who defected to the All Progressive Congress, APC, from altering or changing the leadership of the House, pending the determination of a suit before the court.

APC moves to challenge ruling
However, APC legislators yesterday started moves to challenge the ruling of the Federal High Court.
Justice Ademola Adeniyi, who made the order sequel to a suit filed before the High Court by the PDP, directed that members of the House should maintain the status-quo till February 3, when both the substantive suit and preliminary objections by the defendants will be heard.

It will be recalled that PDP had approached the court, begging it to issue an order of perpetual injunction that would restrain the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, and 52 other lawmakers, from taking any step capable of changing the present leadership structure at the lower legislative chamber of the National Assembly.Meanwhile, members of the House of Reps, led by the Speaker, yesterday, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to dabble into what they said was purely an issue within the domestic affairs of the House.

In urging the court to dismiss PDP’s suit as lacking in merit, the defendants, in their eighteen paragraphed counter-affidavit deposed to by one Mr. Mike Msenge, told the court that from prolonged practice of the House of Reps (1st defendant), the political party with majority of members in the House formed its core leadership.
According to them, “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.

Constitution
“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.”

Meanwhile, APC legislators  in the House yesterday started moves to challenge the ruling.
Vanguard reliably gathered that APC members in the House immediately summoned an emergency  meeting after Justice Adeniyi Ademola of an Abuja High Court issued the order.

A reliable  source at the meeting who did not want his name quoted, said the APC members were concerned by the court order as there was a suit they filed on the matter, which should have been considered first before any order could be issued.

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