Defection Of Saraki, Dogara, 51 Others Is Unlawful – Says Judge

National Assembly Releases Details Of Its 2018 Budget

 

Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court has said that the defection of 53 members of the National Assembly is unlawful.

He stated this while ruling on a case seeking to remove the lawmakers for defecting from one party to another when there was no division in their parties as claimed.

According to him, their defection is unlawful and in violation of Section 68(1) G, which holds that except there is a division in a political party, any member of the National Assembly who defected from the political party that sponsored such a person, that person must vacate his or her seat in the assembly.


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The judge said there was no division of the kind recognised by the Supreme Court to allow the defendant retain their seat.

He explained that this was so because, during the time they claimed there was division in their parties, those parties were still functioning as political parties.

Justice Abang said there was no evidence before the court to show that it is impossible and impracticable for those political parties they decamped from to function as political parties.

He insisted that the said division was not of the kind that would enable them defect to another party.

During the time they defected, according to the judge, those political parties were still functioning and attending to their programmes and activities.

He noted that he agreed with the counsel to the plaintiff that the lawmakers defected at the time their parties needed them most.

Justice Abang said there was no division, neither was there any merger of a kind envisaged in the Constitution to avail them justifications to seek the protection of the court.

He highlighted that the parties they left were not infested with the virus of division and if that was the case, why didn’t one of the factions approach a court for recognition.

The judge stressed that at the time they defected from the APC and ADC, there was no faction that stopped the parties from functioning as political parties.

He, however, said the lawmakers only made reference to a division to enable them to scale through their judicial iniquities.

An advocacy group, Legal Aides Assistant Project (LEDAP), had instituted the case against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, as well as 52 other lawmakers.

On whether the plaintiff has a locus standi, Justice Abang held that the plaintiff was not a political party that sponsored the defected lawmakers, or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conferred with the powers to monitor political parties.

He added that LEDAP was neither a constituent of the defectors nor a registered voter that voted for them.

Justice Abang said the plaintiff has not put anything before the court to show that the voters urged them to sue on their behalf.

He added that the group did not show any injury it would suffer if its prayers were not granted.

The judge noted that the plaintiff has a good case and a good intention of promoting good political behaviour and rule of law.

He also said its action was aimed at ensuring political stability in the country and stopping the selfishness exhibited by politicians.

Justice Abang, however, ruled that the plaintiff had no locus standi to sue the lawmakers.

He said, “How I wish the plaintiff has a locus standi. They have a good case but I cannot go ahead to deliver judgment when the plaintiff will not suffer any injury.

“There is nothing before the court showing where the plaintiff has suffered any loss as a result of the action of the lawmakers.”

The judge added, “This court has the capacity to determine whether the lawmakers should lose their seat but the plaintiff must have a locus standi, except there is a fiat from the Attorney-General of the Federation who has the locus to sue on behalf of the generality of Nigerian, and the plaintiff did not obtain that fiat.”

“The plaintiff not having locus standi has no right to come to court,” he held.

Justice Abang stated that the court cannot take a decision affecting the defected lawmakers without hearing from the persons that nominated them.

In respect of the main case, as it affects the Senate President, the Speaker, and 52 others, the judge struck out the plaintiff’s case.

He, however, held that the plaintiff’s case against former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill, lacked merit because the senator did not defect.

According to him, Senator Akpabio only joined the All Progressives Congress after he was expelled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Defection: Saraki, Dogara, 52 Others To Know Fate On May 17

Defection: Saraki, Dogara, 52 Others To Know Fate On May 17
A photo combination of Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed May 17 to deliver judgement in a suit seeking the removal of 54 members of the National Assembly.

The Legal Defence and Assistant Project (LEDAP) filed the suit against the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and 52 other lawmakers for defecting from their various political parties when there was no division in their parties.

However, the lawmakers through their counsel asked the court to dismiss the suit instituted against them.

READ ALSOFG Secures Release Of Zainab Aliyu

They insisted that LEDAP had no locus standi to file the suit against them, adding that the court lacked the jurisdiction to determine their case.

In their preliminary objection against the suit, the lawmakers urged Justice Okon Abang to dismiss the suit in its entirety because it disclosed no cause of action.

They submitted that the case of the plaintiff had no basis in law because it was not a political party, a voter, or a member of the constituencies who elected them.

Apart from being a non-governmental organisation, the lawmakers said the plaintiff did not disclose what it suffered by their defection.

They added that in all the processes filed, the plaintiff never claimed or exhibited any documents to show that it was a political party or representing any political party or a voter and, therefore, failed to disclose what prompted it to embark on the court action.

Counsel to the Senate President, Mr Mahmud Magaji, prayed the court to hold that the plaintiff was a meddlesome interloper, busy body, and a stranger in the affairs that led to the defection of the lawmakers.

On his part, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Jibrin Okutepa, asked the court to discountenance the submission of the lawmakers.

He added that the court has the constitutional powers to invoke Section 251 of the 1999 Constitution to sack the lawmakers on account of being federal lawmakers.

Okutepa alleged that the lawmakers cross-carpeted for selfish reasons other than the alleged division in their party.

He, therefore, urged the court to invoke the law by declaring their seats vacant without fair or favour, stressing that heaven would not fall if the defecting lawmakers were relieved of their offices.

After listening to arguments from both parties, Justice Abang fixed May 17 to deliver judgement in the case.

He also directed the lawyers to make available to the court photocopies of cited authorities through the registrar of the court.

In the originating summon, LEDAP asked the court to order the lawmakers to refund all monies they collected from the Federal Government since their defection.

[VIDEO]: Once You Join APC, All Your Sins Are Forgiven – Oshiomhole

 

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole has said sins are forgiven when politicians join the ruling party.

He made this statement on Thursday while welcoming new members to the party, at the APC presidential campaign in Benin.

READ ALSO: TRENDING: Buhari Calls APC Gov Candidate In Delta ‘Presidential Candidate’

As Oshiomhole reeled out names of those who have defected from the PDP to the APC, he said, “I am told that there are a lot of very very senior people from PDP who have decided to join forces with President Buhari to take the broom to sweep away PDP and to continue to ensure that APC continues to preside all over Nigeria.

“It includes my own brother, my friend who comes from my own clime, Henry Duke Genebe. He is the former organising secretary of PDP and we also have former vice chairman PDP and leader of Edo North of PDP. We also have my brother Chief Esheshi Godwin. He is also former council chairman and my very dear friend. We have quite a number of other leaders who have come. We have quite a number of other leaders who have come… in fact, once you have joined APC, all your sins are forgiven.”

11 Governorship Candidates In Adamawa Defect To APC

 

Eleven governorship candidates In Adamawa State from various political parties have withdrawn from the race and defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The candidates announced their defections on Friday at the flag off ceremony of the APC governorship candidate in Yola the state capital.

More to follow…

Ekweremadu Clears Air On Defection Rumours, Says ‘I’m Still In PDP’

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(File Photo) Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu

 

The Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has denied reports that he is considering leaving the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a statement issued on Wednesday morning, Ekweremadu who is currently out of the country, explained that he had received calls from various friends and political associates seeking clarification on the rumours.

He said his path in politics remains in the hands of God and assured his supporters that he remains in the PDP.

The statement read, “I am presently out of the country on a prescheduled engagement.

“In the past 24 hours, I have been inundated with calls from friends and political associates seeking clarification on the rumours of my departure from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has dominated the media.

“Let it be known that my path in politics is in the hands of the Almighty God, who has indeed been very faithful and gracious to me. I’m very grateful to God for this.

“My vision in politics is a system that works for everybody, a social and political environment where everybody, every section, and every tribe not only counts, but is also seen to count. As leaders, we must be mindful of this, for any system built on anything less will not endure.

“I am grateful to you – members of my family, my friends, political associates, and admirers across Nigeria and beyond – for your uncommon concern. I am indeed humbled by your kind words of solidarity and support.

“Please, rest assured that I am still in the PDP”.

‘Your Selfish Expectations Did Not Align With Our Selfless Vision’, Buhari Tells Defectors

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President Muhammadu Buhari (file)

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a swipe at members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who defected, to join other parties.

He described them as weak, adding that they decided to defect because their selfish expectations from the party were not met.

He said, “Today, I am pleased to say the weakest amongst us, whose selfish expectations did not align with our selfless vision, have exited our party.

“We now have a party of strong and patriotic individuals who are ready, willing and able to continue on this journey of building a strong, secure, self-sufficient and corruption-free Nigeria.”

Read Also: Buhari Accepts APC Presidential Forms Bought For Him

The President made the comments on Tuesday while receiving a group that purchased the expression of interest and nomination forms for him.

The group, called the National Consolidation Ambassadors Network (NCAN), had paid the N40m and N5m for the nomination and expression of interest forms respectively, while the president was away in China for the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The president thanked the group and called on other groups who may have made similar moves to use their contributions to support young aspirants who may not be able to afford the fees for various positions.

He said, “In accepting this nomination form from the NCAN today, I have asked all the other groups who have offered to buy my nomination form to reassign their contributions to the Not Too Young To Run wing of the APC.

“Nigeria is blessed with many talented and visionary youth who have a lot to contribute. Many of them may not be able to afford the nomination fees set by our party. The contributions of willing individuals & groups will go a long way in supporting the next generation of leaders.

“I have therefore requested that any remaining funds raised to buy my presidential nomination form be used to support these young, competent and dynamic future leaders”.

Defectors From APC Intended To ‘Bring Down’ FG – Akpabio

 

Senator Godswill Akpabio says the recent defections in the All Progressives Congress (APC) was an attempt to frustrate the efforts of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The lawmaker took a swipe at those who defected from the party during an interview on Channels Television’s Roadmap 2019.

“For me, I saw a situation where the ruling party was not only being distracted but the movements were capable of bringing down the government,” he said on the special political programme which aired on Monday.

“We need to have Nigeria before we can have the election. These things are as a result of continuous conspiracies against government and all sorts of things.”

Several top members of the APC, including Senate President Bukola Saraki and the governors Benue, Kwara, and Sokoto defected from the party recently.

All of them accused the APC of failing to keep its promises to the nation and attributed their defection to national interest.

But Akpabio faulted their motives, insisting they had nothing to do with national interest.

Defectors From APC Intended To 'Bring Down' FG – Akpabio
Senator Godswill Akpabio

 

The former Senate Minority leader who had recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC recently himself, however, attributed his own decision to the national interest.

He said, “I don’t think that the movements that we saw from the APC to my then party were prompted by national interest, I think most of those things were based on the personal interest of individuals.”

“I just assessed the situation and I said I needed to contribute my quota towards stabilising the situation; towards ensuring that people realise that it wasn’t all about a conspiracy to bring down a government but to conspire to resolve the security situation.”

Ahead of the 2019 elections, Senator Akpabio urged leaders in the country to shift their attention from political interest and work for the good of the people.

He also advised the critics of President Buhari’s administration to support the government to tackle insecurity and other challenges of the nation rather than coming together to take over power at the centre.

Akpabio said, “We need to have Nigeria before we can have an election. We should conspire to provide employment opportunities.”

“We should conspire to stabilise the government, to ensure that we leave a better future for our children. We should conspire to bring food to the table of Nigerians; not to conspire to just take government for the sake of taking government.”

Ex-Delta Gov Emmanuel Uduaghan Dumps PDP For APC

Former Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan (file)

 

The former governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, has defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

READ ALSOWhy I Left PDP, Joined APC – Uduaghan (Full Text)

He made the announcement on Wednesday in a statement entitled ‘Moving On To The Bigger Playing Field’.

Uduaghan decried that the toughest challenge for any leader in the Niger Delta region has been the issue of peace and security since 1997.

He said, “For over 12 years, I was deeply involved in the management of the issues of the region, first as Secretary to State Government (SSG), and then as governor of Delta State for eight years.”

“Strategically, we had engagement as our major tool. This involved government officials, with me at the forefront (sometimes personally going into the creeks without security at nocturnal hours), community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our youths, retired military officers, activists, etc,” the former governor added.

According to him, they also ensured that the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) was part of the engagement process.

Among other reasons, Dr Uduaghan explained that he decided to join the ruling party because of the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s effort in tackling the crisis in the region.

He commended the President for going with the option of engaging stakeholders in the Niger Delta to address the issues rather than the use of force.

The former governor believes this approach by the APC led Federal Government has pointed in “a direction that is at once progressive and developmental.”

“Since the inception of the current All Progressives Congress (APC) administration at the federal level, there has been an encouraging interest and activities by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis,” he said.

Uduaghan added, “Topmost in these activities are the engagement processes. Rather than using the military to harass our people, the Buhari administration has embarked on various engagement processes that have led to agreements and brought hope to the people of the Niger Delta.”

Why I Left PDP, Joined APC – Uduaghan (Full Text)

BREAKING: Why I Left PDP For APC – Uduaghan (Full Text)
Former Delta State Governor, Emmanuel-Uduaghan (file)

 

In this statement entitled ‘Moving On To The Bigger Playing Field’, former Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has explained why he defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Read the full text below;

The toughest challenge for any leader in the Niger Delta since 1997 has been the issue of Peace and Security.

For over 12 years, I was deeply involved in the management of the issues of the region, first as Secretary to State Government, SSG, and then as Governor of Delta State for 8 years.

Strategically, we had ENGAGEMENT as our major tool. This involved government officials, with me in the forefront (sometimes personally going into the creeks without security at nocturnal hours), community leaders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, our youths, retired military officers, activists, etc. Of course, ensuring that Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, was active was also part of the engagement process.

ENCOURAGING INTERESTS, ACTIVITIES

Since the inception of the current All Progressives Congress, APC, the administration at the federal level, there has been an encouraging interest and activities by President Muhammadu Buhari to bring a permanent solution to the Niger Delta crisis. This has pointed in a direction that is at once progressive and developmental.

Topmost in these activities are the ENGAGEMENT PROCESSES. Rather than using the military to harass our people, the Buhari administration has embarked on various engagement processes that have led to agreements and brought hope to the people of the Niger Delta.

In the last years, Mr President has personally engaged several regional leaders and youths. Senior officials of his administration also engaged many Niger Delta leaders and youths. Very significant is that Mr President mandated the Vice President Prof Yemi Osibajo SAN, to visit virtually all the oil-producing states, engaging various stakeholders. This is unprecedented in the history of the region. Such engagement processes have brought some measure of peace in the Niger Delta. Things can only get better.

Beyond the engagement processes, however, the Buhari administration has embarked on some infrastructural and human capital development activities in the region. In Delta State, the opening of a Maritime University; the setting up of a steering committee for the EPZ (GAS CITY), the plan for a deep sea port, the dredging of the Escravos-Warri River; the opening of the railway line to Delta Steel Company, the soon to be flagged off, by Mr. President, the Omadino-Escravos Road that will pass through many riverine communities; the various road construction works by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the various TCN projects across the State are some of the positive activities in the region.

There are also various human capital development programmes especially the school feeding and the “social security net” that is making 5,000 Naira available to the poor, the continuation of the YouWin programme, the various SME programmes, and several other projects across the region have brought hope to the people.

Indeed, once Mr President was able to set his priorities pursuant to creating an environment for peace in the region, it became incumbent on every well-meaning Niger Deltan and Nigerian to assist the process of building an economically prosperous nation.

In this era of partisan politics, it is necessary for the people of the Niger Delta, and Delta State, in particular, to identify more with the Federal Government led by the APC. By so doing, we can push some of the agreements between our leaders and the Federal Government through, and also engage the government to do more. Politics is about interests.

The Niger Delta is a major area of interest for me because I staked my life going into the creeks severally without security and sometimes coming back at night negotiating peace. I will, therefore, give the strongest support to any President that shows commitment in the affairs of the Niger Delta.

I call on, and enjoin, other well-meaning leaders in the region, who have very useful contributions to make, to come on board and join hands in helping this Federal Government to pursue a robust development agenda that would uplift our people. Whatever milestone that appears not to have been achieved yet is not for lack of efforts. Joining hands with and supporting the process will lead to a faster delivery of expectations.

It is in the pursuit of this noble objective that I’m offering myself to help drive a process that would give the lives of our people in the Niger Delta more meaning. President Muhammadu Buhari needs people who will join hands with him to uplift our people. From my political experience, you have to be well represented and actively so at the “boardroom” when decisions are being taken. Delta State must be well represented. Niger Delta must be well represented.

It is noteworthy to state that some organisations have been deeply involved in efforts to develop the Niger Delta and can always be relied on to collaborate with our President. It is also noteworthy to add that some previous administrations made significant efforts to develop the region.

The current administration made such a significant impact in spite of the fact that apart from Edo State, President Buhari did not score the required 25% in the entire Niger Delta in the election that brought him into government in 2015.

This speaks volume of his genuineness to uplift the Niger Delta. Such an administration should be encouraged by the people of the Niger Delta. We can never be sure of the genuineness of another person who becomes the President.

I have, therefore, after a series of consultations and prayers, taken the decision to leave the PDP and join the APC. In doing this, I want to thank the numerous leaders, supporters and interest groups that have been urging me to remain in PDP. I am happy that after explaining some of the deeper issues to you, some of you that are politicians have agreed to join the APC in the near future. So I am going into APC as “John the Baptist” to the numerous Deltans that are coming in, soon – very soon.

God bless you all.

Nasarawa Lawmaker Dumps APC, Secures Court Injunction Against Assembly

 

The lawmaker representing Wamba constituency in the Nasarawa State House Of Assembly, Makpa Malla, has defected from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

He confirmed this to Channels Television’s correspondent on Tuesday.

In a letter to the Speaker of the Assembly, he said the defection was because of the division in the party which led to a faction called the R-APC, being created.

The Lawmaker also obtained a court order restraining the Assembly from declaring his seat vacant.

Defection Of APC Governors ‘Pains Us So Much’, Says Okorocha

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State speaks to journalists in Daura, Katsina State on August 23, 2018

 

Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Thursday said the defection of some governors and members of the All Progressives Congress was painful.

He said this in Daura, Katsina State when he led other APC governors to visit President Muhammadu Buhari to felicitate with him in the spirit of the season.

“We had wished that none of them, especially the governors, had left the part. We had wished, and it pains us so much,” Okorocha who is also the Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum said.

The pain, he explained, is because they had associated and “related together as brothers”.

All of a sudden, you don’t see one of your own; we feel it,” he added.

The governor was reacting to the recent defections from the party, particularly those of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State; and Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State.

All three governors had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party within a week, starting with Ortom on July 25, Ahmed on July 31 and Tambuwal on August 1.

Although Okorocha described their exit as painful, he believes it had no further effect on the APC.

“(It had) no negative effect whatsoever on the APC,” he said. “Within one week, people had forgotten and we have forged ahead.”

Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, however, waved the defections off, saying it is normal for politicians to defect from parties.

“Parties around the world are associations of persons and, sometimes, others will feel their objectives cannot be met where they are,” he said.

Like Okorocha, he dismissed arguments that the defections had a negative effect on the party.

“What has happened led to more commitment among party members,” the Kebbi State governor said.

Kaduna Assembly Deputy Speaker, Another Member Defect From APC

 

The Deputy Speaker of the Kaduna State House of Assembly, John Audu, and another member representing Kudan Constituency, Junaidu Yakubu, have defected from the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The members who announced their defection on Friday said it was a result of impunity, draconian leadership style and a lack of unity in the APC.

They explained that the party’s pattern of leadership at all levels will no longer serve the interest of their constituencies who elected them into office.

According to the Deputy Speaker who represents Kachia Constituency in the State Assembly, many APC supporters at the local government and state levels have also left the party due to the way it is being run.

He, therefore, noted that his continuous stay in the ruling party will not be in the interest of his supporters and constituents.