Court Stops PDP From Declaring Tambuwal's Seat Vacant

Attempt by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to surreptitiously remove the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, through an ex-parte application failed as the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, ordered the party to put the Speaker on notice.
The court turned down the party’s request for an ex parte order to compel Tambuwal to vacate his seat as Speaker of the House of Representatives following his defection from the majority party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
PDP’s counsel, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN), who argued the application, said Tambuwal had lost his seat by reason of his defection, according to the provisions of section 68 of the 1999 Constitution.
The party joined Tambuwal and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives as respondents in the motion.
It urged the court to order Tambuwal to give effect to the provisions of section 68(1)(g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to declare his seat at the House vacant.
PDP also prayed the court for an alternative order directing the deputy speaker of the House of  to declare the Kebbe/Tambuwal seat vacant by an order of mandamus.
Also in the ex parte motion, PDP asked the court to stop Tambuwal from performing or continuing to perform the function of the Speaker in the House or sitting or continuing to sit in the House as a member.
A 16-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex parte motion, averred that Tambuwal, who was sponsored in the 2011 general election by the PDP, has left the party to join the APC, as he announced on October 28, thereby informing the House on his present status as required by law.
The affidavit as deposed to by one James Ugbogu, a lawyer, said it was constitutional for the House to declare Tambuwal’s seat vacant in the circumstance of his defection to APC.
Under Section 53(3) of the 1999 Constitution, the party said: “The deputy speaker should perform the functions of a speaker of the House in the absence of a speaker in valid occupancy of the position, or legal incapacitation of the incumbent speaker.”
The trial judge, Justice Mohammed, ordered that Tambuwal and other respondents in the motion be put on notice through substituted means and adjourned till December 12 for further hearing of the matter.
In the ex parte request, PDP is challenging the propriety of Tambuwal holding up to the speakership after defecting to the APC.
The plaintiff is praying the court to compel Tambuwal to vacate his membership of the House, having regard to his defection on October 28.
Upon the refusal of the ex parte application, Justice Mohammed consequently adjourned till December 12 for hearing.
In a different ruling, Justice Mohammed had also stopped the Chairmen of Kebbe and Tambuwal Local Government Areas in Sokoto State, Bala Konkani and Sambo Bello Modo respectively, from joining as co-defendants in the suit filed by Tambuwal, challenging the removal of his aides and seeking to stop the PDP members in the House to declare his seat vacant.
The court also stopped  three members of the Sokoto State House of Assembly, Abdulsamad Ibrahim Dasuki (Tambuwal East constituency), Suleiman Hanse (Tambuwal West constituency) and Shuaib Umar (Kebbe constituency) seeking to be joined as co-defendants.
The court stopped them on grounds that their interest in the matter did not align with that of the defendants and as such could not join as  co-defendants.
The court noted that the interest of the applicants bordered  on the seat of the speaker, adding that Tambuwal, who is the plaintiff in the instant case, had presented all his requests before the court.
The applicants had last Friday applied to the court to be joined as co-defendants.
In the suit filed by PDP, the plaintiff is further seeking an order compelling Tambuwal to, in his capacity as speaker, prior to his action, declare vacant the Kebbe/Tambuwal constituency seat, which he represents.
The plaintiff also wants the court to give express effect to Section 68 (i) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
The section provides that: “A member of the Senate or of the House of Representatives shall vacate his seat in the House of which he is member if being a person whose election to the House was sponsored by a political party and he becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected.”


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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