An Abuja Federal High Court on Friday cleared the way for leadership of the National Assembly to declare vacant the seats of lawmakers that defected from the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress(APC).
The defectors (12 senators and 42 members of the House of Representatives)had approached 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 and 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 judgment, 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 apart from leadership of both houses.
According to him, it is clear that the crux of the plaintiffs’ action is the alleged threat by the PDP to declare their seats vacant over their defection to another political party.
“The power to declare seats vacant lies on the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and not the PDP,” the judge explained. The other suit by PDP to compel leadership of both houses to declare seats of defecting lawmakers vacant comes up April 17.