Defection: Court reserves ruling in lawmakers’ suit against PDP, INEC

The lawmakers decamped from the PDP to APC.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday reserved ruling to January 29 in a suit filed by some National Assembly members seeking to stop the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, from declaring their seats vacant.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed reserved ruling after hearing the submissions of the counsels representing all the parties in the case.

He said that the reservation was necessitated because the originating summons, filed by the plaintiffs’ counsel, was not ripe for hearing.

Mr. Mohammed also said that he would only hear the preliminary objection of the first and second defendants’ counsel, subject to whether the said originating summons would be ripe for hearing by the adjourned date.

“Preliminary objection is at all times tied to the originating summons and since the originating summons is not ripe, so also is the preliminary objection.

“This court is unable to accede to the first and second defendants’ counsel’s submission for the hearing of his preliminary objection.

“The court would, therefore, take the preliminary objection only when the originating summons is ripe for hearing,’’ he said.

Some National Assembly members who defected to the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, had gone to court seeking an interlocutory injunction to stop the defendants from sacking them.

Joined in the suit as defendants are the PDP National Chairman, Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, PDP, and INEC.

The plaintiffs’ counsel, Tahiru Adebayo, had in his originating summons, prayed the court to restraint the defendants from sacking the plaintiffs from the National Assembly over their defection to APC.

However, Joe Gadzama, counsel to the first and second defendants, challenged the court’s jurisdiction in entertaining the matter by way of a preliminary objection.

“The plaintiffs lack the requisite legal standing to institute the suit, which is wrongly commenced by way of an originating summons, instead of a writ of summons,’’ Mr. Gadzama, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, argued.

Justice Mohammed then adjourned the case to January 29 and reserved the ruling till the adjourned date to enable the court hear the originating application before hearing the preliminary objection.


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