As Reps avoid de­bat­ing court rul­ing on de­fec­tion

Fears that the court opin­ion on the de­fected law­mak­ers would lead to a rowdy ses­sion was laid to rest as mem­bers chose not to broach the is­sue on the floor of the House. Our cor­re­spon­dent re­ports.

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi

In the wake of the court pro­nounce­ment against 37 de­fected mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives by an Abuja High Court on Mon­day, most Nige­ri­ans had ex­pected that the is­sue would dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings and other leg­isla­tive businesses in the cham­ber of the House. On Tues­day and yes­ter­day.

The rul­ing, which was de­liv­ered by Jus­tice Adeniyi Ade­mola, said the de­fected law­mak­ers should not have any busi­ness do­ing in the Na­tional As­sem­bly af­ter they had left the party that spon­sored them into the leg­is­la­ture.

Jus­tice Ade­mola there­fore said they should hon­ourably re­sign from their po­si­tions hav­ing left the PDP un­der whose plat­form they won elec­tions in 2011.

Ade­mola said “the de­fen­dants are, there­fore, not com­pe­tent to vote or con­trib­ute to any pro­ceed­ings in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.”

There were in­di­ca­tions that the rul­ing would lead to a rowdy ses­sion and a lot of drama on the floor of the House the fol­low­ing day with some of the PDP and APC law­mak­ers plan­ning to bring the mat­ter to the floor of the House.

Signs that Tues­day’s sit­ting might wit­ness some drama emerged be­fore the ple­nary as pro­ceed­ings did not com­mence un­til at about 12 noon, about an hour late from the usual com­mence­ment time of 11.am.

This made the gallery at the cham­bers, where jour­nal­ists and other guests sit to ob­serve pro­ceed­ings, to be filled to ca­pac­ity as even some se­nior leg­isla­tive aides and sup­port staff were seen at the place wait­ing to see what would hap­pen.

But con­trary to ex­pec­ta­tions of most people at the gallery, mem­bers of the House main­tained calm at the sit­ting.

As soon as the ple­nary com­menced, the law­mak­ers went straight into their busi­ness of the day by de­bat­ing some of the items listed on the Or­der Paper as no mem­ber raised any is­sue on the court rul­ing.

How­ever, the sit­ting did not last long as is usu­ally the case with most of the items on the Or­der Paper be­ing stepped down for one rea­son or the other.

The law­mak­ers con­se­quently ad­journed ple­nary at about 1:05pm to con­tinue with leg­is­la­tion till yes­ter­day.

It was later learnt that the ple­nary was de­layed be­cause Speaker Aminu Waziri Tam­buwal, who had ar­rived the Na­tional As­sem­bly com­plex at about 10:30.am, along with other prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers had a pre-sit­ting meet­ing, where they re­solved that no mem­ber should bring the mat­ter to the floor.

Even yes­ter­day’s sit­ting went on smoothly with­out any ran­cour or dis­rup­tion from any law­maker.

How­ever, af­ter Tues­day’s sit­ting, cau­cus of the op­po­si­tion APC ad­dressed a press con­fer­ence where they said they have ap­pealed the rul­ing by the High Court.

Mi­nor­ity whip, Rep Sam­son Osagie, who spoke at the press brief­ing said the af­fected mem­bers would not va­cate their seats, as the court’s ver­dict was that the mem­bers could not ef­fect lead­er­ship change in the House.

He said the judge went out of his man­date to grant an opin­ion that was never sought in the suit, which calls for a lot of con­cern.

“For the avoid­ance of doubt, let me state un­equiv­o­cally on be­half our mem­bers that the im­port of yes­ter­day (Mon­day) 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,” Rep Osagie said.

He main­tained that their ini­tial fears and loss of con­fi­dence on the process “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 ap­peal let­ter read thus: “In view of the judge­ment/rul­ing of the Court in the above suit de­liv­ered by Jus­tice Ade­mola, on the 31 of March, 2014, our clients in­structed us to pro­ceed with an ap­peal.

“Con­se­quently, we filed a No­tice of Ap­peal dated 1st of April, 2014 chal­leng­ing the judge­ment of the court in the above suit.”

The let­ter added that once an ap­peal is filed on any par­tic­u­lar case, all mat­ters re­lated to the case must await the ap­peal judg­ment.

As the mat­ter still re­mains fresh, there are still no signs as to whether any of the par­ties in­volved will raise any dust on the mat­ter.

1. Aiye­dun Akeem (Kwara) 2. Ab­dul­lahi Muham­mad (Kwara) 3. Ab­dul­mu­min Jib­rin (Kano) 4. Ahmed Audi Zarewa (Kano) 5. Al­has­san Ado Doguwa (Kano) 6. Ali B. Ah­mad (Kwara) 7. Aliyu Ba­hago (Kwara) 8. Aliyu Sani Madaki (Kano) 9. Aliyu Shehu (Sokoto) 10. Aminu Shehu Sha­gari (Sokoto) 11. Andrew Uchendu (Rivers) 12. Ogba Egbe­mAa (Rivers) 13. Ba­balle Bashir (Kano) 14. Ab­dul­lahi Salake (Sokoto) 15. Ge­orge Ibi­etela Dawari (Rivers) 16. Isa Sal­ihu (Sokoto) 17. Kabiru Marafa Achida (Sokoto) 18. Mau­rice Pro­nen (Rivers) 19. Zakari Mo­hammed (Kwara) 20. Mos­hood Mustapha (Kwara) 21. Mukhtar Muham­mad (Kano) 22. Mun­nir Babba Dana­gundi (Kano) 23. Musa Sarkin-Adar (Sokoto) 24. Musa Tsamiya Ado (Kano) 25. Nasiru Sule Garo (Kano) 26. Og­bonna Nwuke (Rivers) 27. Rafiu Ade­bayo Ibrahim (Kwara) 28. Sekonte Davies (Rivers) 29. Shuaibu Gwandu (Sokoto) 30. Sa’adu Nabunkari (Sokoto) 31. Umar M. Ba­ture (Sokoto) 32. Yakubu Dog­ara (Bauchi) 33. Dakuku Adol Peter­side (Rivers) 34. Mpigi Bari­nada (Rivers) 35. Mustapha Bala (Kano) 36. Aminu Suleiman (Kano) 37. Nasiru Sani Zan­gon-Daura (Katsina)

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