Court asks 37 defecting PDP members to resign

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday asked 37 former members of PDP to resign their seats at the House of Representatives for defecting to the opposition APC.

The court perpetually restrained the legislators from effecting any leadership change in the assembly.

The court was 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.

The presiding judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, held that the lawmakers no longer had any business, morally and legally in the assembly.

He said they should honourably resign from their seats as members of the House of Representatives, having moved to another political party while their tenure had yet to expire.

“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.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the PDP had on Jan. 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 legislators, who won elections on its platform, to the opposition APC.

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

He argued that by virtue of the Oct. 2013 judgment of Justice Evoh Chukwu, which said there was no division in PDP, the matter had been laid to rest.

Usman 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.

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

Other defence counsel, Mr Niyi Akintola, SAN, Mr Sebastian Hon, SAN, Mr James Ocholi,SAN, Mr Abiodun Owonikoko, SAN, and Jibril Okutepa, SAN, had prayed the court to dismiss the suit. (NAN)

 

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