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NASS leadership crisis moves to courts

The leadership crisis in the House of Representatives has taken another turn as two members have dragged the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to court over the names recommended by the leadership of the APC as principal officers.

Joined in the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/625/2015, filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, are the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yusuf Lasun; and the Clerk of the House, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori.

The members, Mr. Abubakar Lado-Abdullahi, from Niger State; and Mr. Olajide Abdul-Jimoh, from Lagos State, are praying the court to restrain the defendants from stopping the announcement of the names of principal officers recommended by the leadership of the APC.

In their prayers, the members argued, “it is an indisputable fact that the positions in question are party positions; that is, principal offices of the APC, albeit that they concomitantly are also principal positions within the House of Representatives.

“Consequently, the 1st and 2nd Defendants (Speaker and Deputy Speaker) shall, in accordance with Article 9.2 of APC Constitution, which states , ‘members of the party shall be obligated to affirm the party’s aims and objectives’, implement the party’s aims as contained in the party’s nomination letter”.

Findings showed that the court process was reportedly served on Dogara and the co-defendants on July 16.

Specifically, the plaintiffs urged the court to determine whether Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, dealing with the Principle of Federal Character, was applicable to the sharing of principal offices in the National Assembly.

However, Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Hassan Turaki, simply said, “Not aware”, in a reply to a question whether Dogara had received the court’s summons.

The House, which began a forced break on June 25 after a fight broke out on the floor over the sharing of the principal offices, was scheduled to resume on Tuesday (yesterday).

Meanwhile, a Federal High Court has fixed Wednesday for the ruling on an ex parte application seeking an order to restrain the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and members of the Peoples Democratic Party caucus from the South-South in the Senate from appointing the Senate Minority Leader.

Read also: Senators head to court over Saraki

The plaintiffs – Alaye Pedro and Dr. Okechukwu Ibeh – who are also members of the PDP, want the restraining order to last until the determination of their main suit.

Pedro is a PDP member from Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State while Ibeh is a PDP member from Umukegwu/Umuodia LGA of Imo State.

Their suit was anchored on the provision of Order 3(2) of Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) which prohibits the appointment of a first-time senator into the Senate’s principal offices.

From all indications, the suit is targeted at stopping the nomination or appointment of a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, a first-time senator who is from the South-South, the region to which the PDP had zoned the position.

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