By Nuel Suji
Former governor of Akwa Ibom state and senator representing Akwa Ibom, Sen. Godswill Akpabio has been dragged before an Abuja federal high court, by party chieftain seeking to stop him from emerging as Minority Leader of the Senate.
Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mr Alaye Don Pedro and Dr. Okechukwu Ibeh have approached a Federal High Court in Abuja for an order to prohibit nomination of Akpabio as leader of minority in the senate.
The duo are challenging that nomination of the ex-governor for the position of principal officer of the senate will be in breach of section 3(2) of the senate standing rule.
In a legal action instituted to stop the South-South Senate Caucus from presenting Akpabio for the Minority Leader, the two chieftains argued that the ex-governor was a first timer in the senate and was by the senate rule not qualified to hold the office for now.
They applied for order of the court to stop the Senate President Dr.Bukola Saraki from accepting nomination of Akpabio so as to protect the sanctity of the Senate and the breach of its own laws.
The legal action was instituted on their behalf by Mr. Joel Bankole Akomolafe and have the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio as defendants.
Other defendants in the suit are the 16 other senators that constituted South-South senate caucus in the Senate.
In a motion ex-parte argued by their counsel, they asked the court to restrain the defendants from selecting or appointing the minority leader of the Senate by procedure in breach of order 3 (2) of the Senate Standing Order 2015 as amended pending the determination of their suit.
They also asked for an order prohibiting the Senate President from accepting, recognizing orappointing the Minority leader by a procedure in breach of order 3(2).
In two separate affidavits in support of their motions, they claimed that new members of the Senate are excluded in holding any senate principal office.
They averred that PDP being a major minority party has zoned the position of the Senate minority leader to the South-South and has been accepted by the South-South Senate caucus.
The Plaintiffs averred that PDP took into consideration the ranking of the PDP Senators from the zone and that the South-South Senate Caucus is bound to select or appoint the minority leader in compliance with order 3(2).
They also claimed that a larger PDP caucus in the Senate has concluded plans to subvert the mandatory provisions of orders 3(2) by a resolution to appoint minority leader in breach of the Senate law.
A newspaper publication, which contained the resolution of the south-south senate caucus to appoint the Senate Minority leader in breach of Order 3(2), was attached for the court verification.
Plaintiff averred that the decision to breach order 3(2) on the Senate Minority Leader appointment has cause division within PDP and that they have been adversely affected Justice Gabriel Kolawole will rule on the ex-parte motion on Wednesday.