An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday struck out a suit filed by some All Progressives Congress senators and members of the House of Representatives to forestall plans to declare their seats vacant as a result of their defection from the Peoples Democratic Party.
The defectors had, in the suit, asked the court to restrain the Senate President, David Mark, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, from conducting any proceedings aimed at declaring their seats vacant, as well as that of any other member of the PDP, who intend to join another political party.
The lawmakers had stated that they approached the court to protect their rights as members of the National Assembly, following threats by the PDP to declare their seats vacant.
But in his judgement, Justice Ahmed Mohammed struck out the suit on the grounds that the PDP, which threatened to declare the defectors’ seats vacant, lacked the powers to do so under the law and as such, there was no issue for the court to determine.
The judgement was initially scheduled to be delivered on Wednesday but the defected lawmakers, through their lawyer, Mahmoud Magaji, SAN, initiated a last-minute bid to stop the court from giving its decision by filing a motion, asking the court to adjourn the verdict indefinitely, pending the hearing and determination of a referral application they filed at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.
The development prevented the court from delivering the judgment on Wednesday but after dismissing the motion in a ruling on Friday, Justice Mohammed went ahead to give his verdict.
Giving a summary of the facts of the case, he noted that, following the threat by the PDP to declare their seats vacant, the defected lawmakers had asked the court to determine whether the crisis in the party, which culminated in a parallel national convention, does not qualify as a division to warrant them to defect and continue to retain their elective seats in line with the provisions of section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution.