Monday, December 1, 2014 8:09 pm
Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
The quest by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to remove the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, from office took a dramatic turn Monday following a motion exparte filed by the party before a federal high court in Abuja seeking for leave of court to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Speaker to give effect to the provisions of section 68 (1)(g) and 68(2) of the Nigerian Constitution, by declaring the Kebbe / Tambuwal federal constituency seat vacant.
In effect, the party wants the court to order the Speaker to declare his seat, as the representative of Kebbe / Tambuwal federal constituency, vacant by reason of his defection from the party which sponsored his election into the federal legislative chambers.
Cited as defendants in the suit are the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.
While moving the motion exparte, PDP’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ahamba, a senior advocate of Nigeria told the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed, that the party’s suit deals with the provisions of section 68 (1)(g) and 68(2) of the Nigerian Constitution which are generally known to cover issues relating to a person leaving a political party upon which he was elected.
Specifically, section 68 (1)(g) provides that where a person whose election was sponsored by a political party becomes a member of another political party before the expiration of the period for which he was elected, as in this case, as a member of the House of Representatives, the Speaker is empowered by section 68(2) to give effect to the provisions of that section, by declaring the member’s seat vacant upon being satisfied that the member had become a member of another political party other than that upon which he was elected.
“Section 68 (1)(g) deals with leaving one’ party for another and section 68(2) renders 68(1)(g) non self implementable, where the facts are there, the person can confidently remain in the House until section 68(2) is given effect when the Speaker performs his duty by putting into effect the provision of section 68(2). The Speaker should go ahead and declare the Kebbe / Tambuwal federal constituency vacant. We urge this court to compel the Speaker to do his statutory duties, as long as there is evidence that someone has left his party” Ahamba urged the court.
He told the court that Tambuwal is aware that he’s left the PDP and had joined the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC,by his open declaration on the floor of the House of Representatives on the 28th of October, but has clung to the seat of Speaker of the House of Representatives and has refused to vacate the office and contended that by virtue section 53(3) of the constitution, that the Deputy Speaker is empowered to function as the Speaker in the absence of a Speaker in valid occupancy of the position, or legal incapacitation of the incumbent Speaker.
Furthermore, the PDP sought for an order of the court restraining Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal from performing or continuing to perform the functions of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Justice Mohammed granted the party the leave being sought to enable the party properly apply for the mandamus and also granted the party’s request for an order of substituted service by delivery of the originating summons to the Clerk of the National Assembly for onward delivery to the defendants and adjourned the matter to Friday, 12th December.
The Speaker, meanwhile has petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, seeking protection in a new suit filed against him by a PDP member of the House from Ogun State, Hon Abiodun Akinlade.