House: PDP Wants 37 Lawmakers Back In Party

SAN FRANCISCO, December 19, 2013, (THEWILL) - The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Thursday expressed the desire to have its defecting members back in the fold as it asked the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, to compel the 37 lawmakers who recently defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to return to the ruling party. In a letter signed by counsel to the PDP and its chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama, SAN, the party noted that a Federal High Court in Abuja had last Tuesday ordered the parties in the suit filed by the lawmakers seeking to restrain the PDP from declaring their seats vacant, to maintain the status quo. PDP said the decision of the 37 members of the House to announce their defection on the floor of the House is a violation of the court's order directing the parties to maintain the status quo. The party said in the letter: "We have today filed a motion on notice, which has already been served on your office seeking to overturn the purported movement of the 37 of the plaintiffs to the APC. "It is in the light of this that we enjoin you to act in obedience to the order of court and direct the plaintiffs to revert to the status quo ante bellum. "Anything contrary to this will send out the wrong signals to Nigerians and the world that the Federal Legislatures have no regard for the law and the constitution which they have sworn to uphold. "The action of the plaintiffs, if not contained, may lead to a state of anarchy, which is not good for our democracy, constitutionalism, rule of law and the polity." The letter quoted section 68 (1)(g) and (h)  of the Constitution which states the conditions under which a member of the House who defects to another party might be allowed to retain his seat, arguing that the conditions were not met. "It is crystal clear from the above legal authorities that the mandatory criteria have not been complied with by the plaintiffs," the letter added. Tukur and PDP also filed an application before the court seeking the following reliefs: An order of this court declaring the defection on December 18, 2013, by 37 of the plaintiffs from the PDP to ACP as null and void and contrary to the order os this court made on Tuesday, the 17th day of December, 2013. A mandatory order of this court that the 37 legislators revert back to the status quo pending the hearing of the plaintiffs' motion on notice for interlocutory injunction. In the alternative to prayer 2 above, an order setting aside the earlier order of this court on parties to maintain the status quo pending the hearing of the motion for interlocutory injunction. The plaintiffs had approached the Federal High Court via an originating summons, for among others, restraining the Speaker of the House and the Senate President from declaring their seats vacant in the event of their defection to another political party. The case is scheduled to be heard on January 22, 2014.