PDP heads to court to halt change in House leadership

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to restrain the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal and 52 other lawmakers from altering or changing the leadership of the House of Representatives following a spate of defections by members of the House from the ruling party to the All Progressives Congress (APC)

In an affidavit in support of the suit, PDP averred that a ‘rebel’ group of 46 lawmakers, led by the Minority Leader of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, had finalized plans to change the leadership of the House upon resumption from their recess.

The party had argued, “If the House is not restrained by the court and they take any step, it will foist on the court a state of fait accompli. The plaintiff will be prejudiced if this application is refused. Monetary compensation will not atone for the damage that will be done to the plaintiff in place of this interim injunction. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application.”

It prayed the court to compel the lawmakers, including those that have decamped to the All Progressives Congress, APC, to maintain their status-quo, pending the hearing and final determination of the suit.

The party, through its counsel, Mr. Yunus Usman, SAN, is also asking the court to determine, whether in view of the mandatory provision of section 68(i) (g) of the 1999 constitution, as amended, and in view of the pendency of a suit between Senator Bello Gwarzo and 78 others against Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and four others before the Federal High Court, Abuja, the defendants, can validly function as members of the House of Reps, contribute to, or, vote on any motion and or debate in the proceedings of the House with a view to removing or sanctions 2nd to 10th defendants or any of the principal officers of the House.

Defendants in the suit include, Deputy Speaker (Emeka Ihedioha), Mulikat Akande-Adeola (the Majority Leader), Leo Ogor (Deputy Majority Leader), Isiaka Bawa (Chief Whip), Ahmed Mutkar (Deputy Chief Whip), Gbajabiamila (Minority Leader), Samsom Osagie (Minority Whip) and Sumaila Kawu (Deputy Minority Leader).

The party urged the court to also determine whether in view of the mandatory provision of section 68(i) (g) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the aforementioned pending suit, the 23rd to 79th defendants can lawfully alter the composition or constitution of the leadership of the 1st defendant.

It sought “A declaration that the 11th to 52nd defendants who are 23rd to 79th plaintiffs in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/621/2013, between Senator Bello Hayatu Gwarzo & 78 Ors V. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur & 4 Ors, are not competent to sponsor, contribute or vote on any motion calling for the removal or change in the leadership of the House of Reps or the removal of any of the Principal Officers of the 1st defendant.

An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants particularly 2nd to 52nd defendants, their agents, servants, privies, or through any person or persons however from taking any step or further steps, sitting, starting or doing anything to alter, remove or change the leadership of the House.”

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