…Court ruling strange, black market order – APC Reps
Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has rejected the Abuja Federal High Court ruling yesterday that asked 37 lawmakers to vacate their seats for defecting from the PDP to the APC .
He said the decision was a strange judgment that turned law on its head.
Also, some of the affected lawmakers said the ruling was a “black market” order obtained to favour the PDP.
The lawmakers said the judgement would ridicule the judiciary, saying the judge “erred” in giving the order.
Gbajabiamila said in a statement that “the judgment is a product of error of court,” adding that the lawmakers would be willing to appeal at a higher court.
“The judgement is strange and will be appealed. No person can be compelled by law to stay in an association against his or her wishes,” he said.
Gbajabiamila also said that the judgment is an affront to right of association of the lawmakers.
“Section 68 was never argued in court by any of the parties. The judge gave an opinion he was never asked to give and an argument that was never canvassed before him,” he said. “It negates a fundamental right of association of every citizen that is inalienable.
Section 68 of the constitution has been turned on its head and the error of the court is manifest.” One of the affected lawmakers, Rep Ali Ahmed from Kwara State, told Daily Trust that the judgement could not withstand an appeal, saying if such continues, there would be “more turbulence in the judiciary.”
“As a party to the matter, I may be partisan. But I am sure every Nigerian must be alarmed at this judgement. Of course it cannot withstand an appeal, but the issue is if trial courts continue to behave this way, I hope we should be prepared for more turbulence in the judiciary,” he said.
Another affected lawmaker, Rep Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) told Daily Trust yesterday that the judgement was delivered in bad taste to ridicule the judiciary.
“It’s a black market judgement that cannot obtain anywhere. It will surely ridicule the Nigerian judiciary. You can’t have such a ruling when another court said last Friday that the PDP doesn’t have anything to do on the matter.
“Besides, the judge went outside the prayers contained in the original suit, which shows that it is purely a black market order to favour PDP…. We will appeal it,” he said.
Similarly, counsel to the 37 lawmakers, Mahmud Abubakar Magaji (SAN) told our reporter on phone last night that the judge “dabbled into another matter that was never sought in the suit.”
He said, “We have 30 days to appeal, but we’ll do that within this week. The judge erred. In fact, it was after he gave the ruling that was never sought for that he realized what he did and quickly turned to say that the lawmakers could not effect any leadership change in the House, which was the prayer of the suit.”
However, deputy majority leader of the House, Mr Leo Ogor, said the 37 lawmakers should not “waste their resources on appeal” as they have already lost the matter.
“The seats they occupy belong to PDP. It is not an individual seat but that of the party. We were more than convinced that the court will do the right thing because you do not need a rocket scientist to interpret Section 68 of the constitution,” Ogor said.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola yesterday told the defectors to honourably vacate their seats since they defected from PDP when their tenures had not expired.
He was delivering judgement in the case filed by PDP in January, asking for an order to restrain the 37 lawmakers from effecting any leadership change in the House.