Defection: Court restrains APC legislators from altering House leadership

By The Citizen

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday 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.

Justice Ademola Adeniyi, who made the order sequel to a suit filed before the High Court by the Peoples Democratic Party (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.'