By Olusegun Emmanuel, Abuja.
All Progressive Congress, APC, caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday appealed the judgement of the Federal High Court Abuja which declared as illegal the defection of 37 of its members from the ruling People’s Democratic Party.
The case is now before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
The leader of the group, Hon. Samson Osagie who informed newsmen said there was no judgement before the House directing any member to vacate his or her seat.
While accusing Justice Adeniyi Ademola of doing the bidding of the PDP, the group added that the judgement confirmed its earlier fears about the judge.
Osagie said the APC was not surprised about the judgement alleging that in the course of the proceedings the same judge had earlier issued a preservative order as soon as the argument against his jurisdiction in the case was taken. This was our first apprehension of the commencement of the case.
“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.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state unequivocally on behalf our members that the import of yesterday ruling was that our 37 members cannot participate in the removal of Principal Officers of the House, nothing more, nothing less.
“Every other pronouncements by the Judge as to the status of our 37 members of the House were mere opinion, in any event, this judgment was given in vain and in ignorance of the House rules which governs the appointment of party leaders in the parliament. It is also an attempt by the court to meddle in the internal affairs of the parliament. This certainly is not the import of the doctrine of judicial review,” he said.
“As we speak our colleagues have appealed the vexatious ruling and we hope to get justice soon. We believe the House of Representatives will take due notice of the appeal in this case.”
Also speaking, Hon. Asita Honourable (APC, Rivers) insisted that the judge has no moral and legal standing to determine the morality of any decision taken by the lawmakers.
In his words, “the judge is not a priest and has no moral standing to determine my own morality. The judgement is bad in law and also bad in morality. The time has come in this country that we must insist that for anybody to be a judge in this country, his head must be checked,” he added.
It would be recalled that Justice Ademola had on Monday given an order of perpetual injunction restraining 37 members of the House of Representatives who defected from the People Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in December 2013 from taking any step to alter the leadership of the House of Representatives.
The judge also suggested that the 42 lawmakers should “honourably” relinquish their seats because, in his opinion, they have no business in the National Assembly.