The All Progressives Congress (APC) caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday vowed that none of its members would vacate his or her seats on the basis of any court ruling that has political undertone .
It said Monday’s ruling by an Abuja High court asking the 37 Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) lawmakers who defected to APC to resign their seats merely confirmed its fears that the judge of the court had bias against the opposition party.
The caucus disclosed that it has filed a notice of appeal against the judgment and has notified the Speaker , Hon Aminu Waziri , his Deputy Hon Emeka Ihedioha and the House about the appeal.
A Federal High Court presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola on Monday restrained the affected lawmakers from effecting a change in the leadership of the House of Representatives in line with prayers of the plaintiff, the PDP. The members had on the 18th of December, 2013 defected from PDP to the APC, and were sued alongside the principal officers by the PDP over alleged plan to alter the leadership of the House.
But, addressing newsmen yesterday , the Minority Whip of the House, Mr Samson Osagie (APC,Edo) declared “For us in the APC, we were not surprised because in the course of the proceedings the same judge had earlier issued a preservative order as soon as the arguments against his jurisdiction in the case was taken. This was our first apprehension of the commencement of the case.”
The APC caucus expressed dismay that the presiding judge went beyond what was before him by expressing opinion on issues that were not solicited by the plaintiff.
Osagie stated; “Our fears were further confirmed when the judge after granting the reliefs sought in the suit went ahead to render an opinion on issues that were not before him nor solicited by the plaintiffs.
“Consequently, a section of the media and indeed the public have been misled by the court ruling into believing that the said judgment has effectively terminated the tenure of office of the affected members. This is not only untrue, but also a mere obiter dicta expressed by a judge who veered off the course of the case before him in order to do the bidding of the ruling party. At best the judgment has turned law on its head and cannot stand.
“Our Colleagues have taken steps to appeal the judgment and we are confident that justice will prevail.
“In the meantime, we want to assure members of the public that there is no court judgment before the House, directing any member of the APC to vacate his or her seat.
“In any event, section 68 (2) of the 1999 Constitution makes it clear that satisfactory evidence must be presented to the House before any of the provision of S.68 (1) can become applicable. At the moment the APC in the House remains strong and focus on the need to provide necessary checks and balances to the rudderlessness of the ship of State as being piloted by the ruling party in this country today.”
He maintained “At a time when this government is unable to explain to Nigerians the where about of huge missing funds; at a time when profligacy among Ministers of this government has reached its crescendo; at a time when scores and thousands have been sent to their untimely death under a scheme purported to be a recruitment sham; at a time when government assets in the power sector have been sold out with Nigerians experiencing more darkness than light; at a time when insecurity and insurgency has almost defied government emergency rule and at a time when mis governance has taken center stage while Nigerians has continued to wallow in abject penury, the PDP government has continued to run the country like the private fiefdom of those holding the reins of power.
“Nigerians, we know cannot succumb to the shenanigans of the ruling party that has plundered this nation for 15 years.”
Osagie stressed that the lawmakers were elected on the basis of law, and were justified by law to take the action they took, and so the question of moral right to still remain in the House does not really arise, pointing out that the issue of detection in the House cuts across parties.
He blamed the entire experience on the “high handedness of the PDP” which he said was bent on perpetually holding on to power without recourse to the will of the people.