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Ondo ex-Speakers ask court to declare 22 seats vacant


Victor Olabimtan

Victor Olabimtan

FORMER Speakers of Ondo State House of Assembly have approached the Federal High Court sitting in Akure, asking the judiciary to declare the seats of the legislators elected under the platform of the Labour Party (LP) vacant for defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The two former speakers, Ayo Agbomuserin and Taofiq Abdusalam, who ditched the PDP alongside another former Speaker, Victor Olabimtan earlier this year for the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), filed the suit last week at the Akure Judicial Division of the Federal High Court.

The plaintiffs, Agbomuserin and Abdusalam, in an originating summon, had sued the twenty House of Assembly members that defected from LP to PDP on October 8, 2014 and also the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Inspector General of Police, Director-General, Department of State Security Service and Ondo State House of Assembly.

In the suit, the plaintiffs sought declarations that the twenty-two legislators, having abandoned the LP to PDP have automatically and constitutionally vacated their seats as members of the State House of Assembly by virtue of Section 109 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

Also, they sought a declaration that the legislators have since ceased to be members of Ondo state House of Assembly from October 8, 2014 having dumped the LP under which they were elected.

They argued that all legislative actions and activities performed, bill passed and other legislative functions carried by them as members of Ondo State House of Assembly are null, void, unconstitutional and ultra vires.

In the written summon, the court was asked to grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining the legislators from parading themselves as members of the Ondo State House of Assembly and also restraining INEC, Inspector General of Police and Director General of State Security Service from recognizing them as members of the Assembly.

Those 22 legislators, headed by the first female Speaker in the State, Jumoke Akindele, had defected from the LP to PDP when there was no division in the LP and some of them got re-elected in the April 11 Assembly election in the state.

According to Abdusalam, “the legislators have contravened section 109(1) which says that a member of a House of Assembly shall vacate his seat in the House if being a person whose election to the House of Assembly was sponsored by a political party, he becomes a member of another party before the expiration of the period for which that House was elected provided that his membership of the later political party is not as a result of a division in the political party of which he was previously a member.”  The date for the hearing has not been fixed.

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