Court Strikes Out Suit Challenging Suspension of Ondo Lawmaker

An attempt by the lawmaker representing Ese- Odo Constituency of Ondo State, Success Torhukerhijo, to vacate his expulsion as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the declaration of his seat in the House of Assembly vacant suffered a setback, as the Federal High Court in Lagos struck out his suit.

The Ondo State House of Assembly had declared his seat vacant over alleged anti-party activities.

Dissatisfied, he approached the court asking that the suit be heard during court vacation as a matter of urgency.

The applicant filed the suit marked FHC/AK/CS/95/2022 as the sole plaintiff, while the Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly; Ondo State House of Assembly; APC and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as first to fourth respondents.

He made his claims in his originating motion on notice dated 11/8/2022 filed on August 12, 2022.

Torhukerhijo, an elected member of the Ondo State House of Assembly, accused the 1st and 3rd respondents of his unconstitutional expulsion as a member of the 3rd Respondent and declaring his seat as a member of Ondo State House of Assembly vacant without giving him fair hearing.

The applicant alleged a violation of his right to fair hearing under section 36(1) of the Constitution in the process leading to his expulsion.

Torhukerhijo, a lawyer, represented himself, while Babatunde Esan held the brief of B. A. Aderosin for the 3rd respondent.

Dismissing the suit Justice Aluko held that Torhukerhijo’s suit was not a fundamental rights claim as he averred and was not maintainable under the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules.

The court  held: “Coming from the foregoing, I hold the considered view that the main and principal claims of the applicant which principally have to do with his expulsion as a member of the APC, declaration of his seat vacant and an order for the reversal and setting aside of the decision declaring his seat vacant are not fundamental right claims and are not maintainable under Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules.

“To this end, the lone issue in this case is resolved against the Applicant. Consequently, this suit is incompetent and same is struck out for the above reasons.”