House Fails To Sack 37 Defecting Lawmakers
We won't resign, APC Reps insist .
As APC Reps appeals judgement The House of Representatives Tuesday failed to compel the 37 lawmakers who defected from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) as ruled by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday to vacate their seats Meanwhile, the APC Caucus in the House has vowed that the 37 members who left the PDP to join the opposition APC cannot vacate their seats because it was just an opinion expressed by Justice Adeniyi Ademola and not an order of law.
They said since the 37 lawmakers have already served the court and Speaker of the House with notice of appeal, even if there was a judgement asking them to resign, they would have stayed put until the appeal is disposed of.
At the resumed plenary of the House on Tuesday, many Nigerians had expected that the PDP leadership would move for the resignation of the 37 defecting lawmakers as advised by the judge but no such motion was brought on the floor.
Instead, the PDP caucus in the House had met behind closed door before the official sitting time of 11am.
Although, there was no statement after the meeting, our correspondent gathered that the PDP members resolved to watch how their APC counterparts would carry on with the court ruling.
A source at the meeting disclosed: 'The members agreed that since the 37 lawmakers have indicated intention to appeal the judgement, there was no need to call for their resignation at this stage.
'So, we will wait for the outcome of the appeal because we are not in a hurry.
We are a democratic party and would not want to do anything contrary to the tenets of democracy.
' However, the APC Caucus in the House has declared that the 37 lawmakers will not leave the House on the pretext of 'morality' as deposed by the judge since they were elected on 'law' and not on morality.
House Minority Whip, Hon.
Samson Osagie (APC, Edo), who made the declaration during a media briefing shortly after the House adjourned plenary, accused the judge of going beyond his brief to mislead the general public.
He insisted that 'there is no court judgment before the House, directing any member of the APC to vacate his or her seat.
' Osagie, who was accompanied by other APC members, expressed disappointment that: 'A section of the media and indeed the public have been misled by the court ruling into believing that the said judgment has effectively terminated the tenure of office of the affected members.
'This is not only untrue, but also a mere obiter dicta expressed by a judge who veered off the course of the case before him in order to do the bidding of the ruling party.
At best the judgment has turned law on its head and cannot stand.
'For the avoidance of doubt, let me state unequivocally on behalf our members that the import of yesterday's ruling was that our 37 members cannot participate in the removal of Principal Officers of the House, nothing more, nothing less.
Every other pronouncement by the Judge as to the status of our 37 members of the House were mere opinion.
'In any event, 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.
'As we speak, our colleagues have appealed the vexatious ruling and we hope to get justice soon.
We believe the House of Representatives will take due notice of the appeal in this case.
'Section 68 (2) of the 1999 Constitution makes it clear that satisfactory evidence must be presented to the House before any of the provision of S.
68 (1) can become applicable.
'Members were elected into the House based on law.
The question of morality was unsolicited for.
What we are experiencing today is the highhandedness of the ruling party that wants to retain power by hook or crook.
' He submitted that the APC caucus was not surprised at the ruling of Justice Ademola and that his verdict only confirmed their earlier fears.
'For us in the APC, we were not surprised because in the course of the proceedings, the same judge had earlier issued a preservative order as soon as the argument against his jurisdiction in the case was taken.
This was our first apprehension of the commencement of the case.
'Our fears were further confirmed when the judge after granting the reliefs sought in the suit went ahead to render an opinion on issues that were not before him nor solicited by the plaintiffs.
'The House of Representatives remains the bastion of hope of the traumatised and pauperised Nigerians and we shall not give in to the attempt of some of our PDP colleagues in collusion with a certain judge to turn facts and law on its head to achieve some sinister ends.
' In his reaction at the press conference, leader of the APC South South caucus in the House, Hon.
Andrew Uchendu (APC, Rivers) argued that they have the moral justification to leave the PDP because the party has been factionalised in the last 16 to 22 months.
'We remain on sound moral ground to have left PDP,' he said.
Also Asita Honourable (APC, Rivers) defended their decision to defect, arguing that if there was anything like morality in the matter, it was the judge that lacks the morality to deliver the type of judgement he gave in the case.
SAINT MUGAGA, ABUJA