Law News
Suit seeking Tambuwal’s removal suffers setback
Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday rejected an ex parte application seeking to restrain Mr. Aminu Tambuwal from further acting as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The applicant, a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Abiodun Akinlade, had asked the court to stop Tambuwal from parading himself as the Speaker, pending the determination of the suit challenging his continued stay in office.

However, Justice Ahmed Mohammed rather than grant the application asked the plaintiff to put Tambuwal and other defendants in the suit on notice.

The judge ruled that it would be “most unfair” to grant a restraining order sought through an ex parte application against Tambuwal who had engaged lawyers to defend himself in the suit.

The plaintiff is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party representing Yewa South/Ipokia Federal Constituency of Ogun State in the House of Representatives.

In his substantive suit, he sought a “judicial interpretation” of an earlier judgment delivered by Justice Evoh Chukwu of the same Federal High Court in Abuja, where the court held that there was no division in the PDP.

The aim of the fresh suit is to justify the PDP’s stance that the defection of Tambuwal from the PDP to the All Progressives Congress on October 28 was “illegal” and in breach of Section 68(1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

The plaintiff, therefore, wants the court to declare Tambuwal’s seat vacant on the strength of alleged illegality of his defection to the APC.

The plaintiff joined Tambuwal, the House of Representatives and the Independent National Electoral Commission in the suit.

Akinlade’s suit was initially assigned to Justice Evoh Chukwu.

But the judge on December 2, 2014, withdrew from the suit, numbered FHC/ABJ/9S/871/2014, following a petition written by Tambuwal asking the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, to re-assign the case to another judge.

Tambuwal had in his suit expressed fear that Justice Chukwu was likely to be bias against him (Tambuwal) in view of the judge’s previous pronouncement in a related case.

When the matter came up for the first time on Monday before Justice Mohammed to whom the case was re-assigned, the plaintiff, through his counsel, Mr. Babs Akinwumi, moved his ex parte application.

He sought “an order restraining the 1st defendant from continuing to act or parade himself as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria pending the hearing of motion on notice.

“An order dispensing with personal service and for substituted service on the 1st defendant by serving all the processes in this suit in the office of the Speaker, House of Representatives.”

Ruling on the application, Justice Mohammed said under Order 26 Rule 10 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, a judge could grant an ex parte application, refuse it or order that it be converted to a motion on notice.

He held, “In this situation, all the parties are represented in this case. It will be most unfair to grant an order ex parte against a party that has representatives in a case.

“I will therefore adopt the last option.”

The judge adjourned till January 19 for further proceedings.

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