Tambuwal ' s Drama: PDP files counter suit.
Sequel to Speaker Aminu Tambuwal ' s move to stop any court order compelling his ouster, the PDP has filed a fresh suit seeking an order compelling him to declare himself as no longer fit to represent the Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency.
Tambuwal's suit comes up for hearing on December 3.
Justice Ahmed Mohammed on Monday granted an ex parte application seeking leave by the PDP to commence its suit against Tambuwal.
The office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives; Tambuwal himself; and the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, are the respondents in the suit.
The court after granting the leave also ordered the plaintiff to put all the respondents on notice.
The court also directed that the court order and the motion on notice to be filed by the plaintiff should be served on the three respondents.
The PDP, in its fresh suit, maintained that by virtue of section 68(1)(g) of the Constitution, Tambuwal's defection from the party, which sponsored his election to the House of Representatives, amounted to losing his seat.
The plaintiff contended that under section 68(2) of the Constitution, it was mandatory for Tambuwal, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, to declare as vacant the Kebbe/Tambuwal seat, whose occupant had defected from the party which sponsored him to the House.
They are also seeking an alternative order compelling the Deputy Speaker to declare the seat vacant in the event that Tambuwal fails to do so. The prayers being sought by the PDP in its suit filed on November 24 and marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/901/2014, read, “An order of mandamus compelling the 1st respondent (office of the Speaker) to give effect to the provisions of section 68(1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by declaring the Kebbe/Tambuwal Federal Constituency seat vacant.
“An order of injunction restraining the 2nd respondent (Tambuwal) from performing or continuing to perform the function of the 1st respondent in the House of Representatives or sitting or continuing to sit in the House of Representatives as a member.
“In the alternative, an order of court compelling the 3rd respondent (Deputy Speaker, Ihedioha) to declare the Kebbe/Tambuwal seat vacant by an order of mandamus in terms of relief (a) supra.”
While moving the ex parte application seeking the court's leave to commence the suit on Monday, the PDP's lawyer, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), said section 68(1) (g) of the Constitution was not “self-implementing.”
But he added that the provisions must be given its effect by virtue of provision of section 62(2) of the Constitution by compelling Tambuwal to declare the Kebbe/Tambuwal seat vacant.
The matter was adjourned till December 12.
Meanwhile, Tambuwal has petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, seeking protection in a fresh suit filed against him by a member of the House, Mr. Abidun Akinlade.
The suit, NO. FHC/ABJ/CS/871/2014, has Tambuwal, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Federal Government, as respondents.
According to Tambuwal, the suit was assigned to Justice E.S.J. Chukwu of Court 8.
In the suit, Akinlade, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ogun State, is seeking a “judicial interpretation” of an earlier judgment of the same court, where it held that there was no division in the PDP.
The aim of the fresh suit is to justify the PDP's stance that the defection of Tambuwal from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress on October 28, was “illegal” and in breach of Section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
But in Tambuwal's petition, dated November 30, he said he had no confidence in Chukwu to treat the case without “bias”, having given a judgment in 2013 that there was no division in the PDP.
He observed that Chukwu's judgment had been relied upon for subsequent decisions on defections, such as the one by Justice A.F.A. Ademola of the same Federal High Court, who also declared the December 2013 defection of 37 PDP lawmakers to the APC as illegal.
The speaker appealed to the chief judge to re-assign Akinlade's case to another judge in the spirit of fairness.
Tambuwal, who is a lawyer by training, noted that the new case was like asking Chukwu to “sit on appeal over his own judgment.”
The speaker added that Ademola's judgment too had elicited “four” appeals still pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.
Similarly, the speaker said five other cases filed by “various parties” relating to the same issue of defection were before the Federal High Court in Abuja awaiting disposal.
Tambuwal prayed further, “My Lord, my apprehension is particularly in respect of the presiding Judge, Justice Chukwu, ESJ, having made a pronouncement on similar issues, in similar cases, decided by him, clearly shows that he has an iron-cast judicial position or opinion in respect of Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/871/2014, concerning me sir, which has just been assigned to him.”
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