The Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a suit seeking to declare vacant the seats of 54 national assembly lawmakers who defected from the political parties under which they contested and won the 2015 general polls.
Backstory: Among those the suit sought to remove are Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio.
The presiding judge, Justice Okon Abang, said:
- The plaintiff of the suit, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP), lacked the legal right to institute the suit.
- Abang also affirmed that the plaintiff, not being the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); the political parties from which the legislators defected; a member of any of the political parties; a member of the constituencies of the legislators; and a registered voter in the lawmakers’ constituencies, lacked the legal capacity to institute the action.
- Abang also said the lack of right standing had robbed the court of the jurisdiction to consider the merit of its claims in the suit.
Bottom Line: TheScoop said in an earlier analysis that this case would have serious implications on the issue of mass defection of key political players from one party to the other. It’s a case that is long overdue for litigation considering the frequent cases of defections in our politics, but that would be a battle for another day.