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

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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 presiding in a case seeking to remove 54 lawmakers for defecting from one party to another when there was no division in their parties as claimed.

An advocacy group, Legal Aides Assistant Project (LEDAP), had instituted the case against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio, and 51 other members of the National Assembly.

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While Justice Abang stated that the action of the lawmakers was unlawful, he agreed that Senator Akpabio did not defect but joined the All Progressives Congress (APC) after he was expelled from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The judge said there was no division of the kind recorgnised by the Supreme Court to allow the defendant – that is other lawmakers – retain their seat, with the exception of the third defendant who was Senator Akpabio.

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

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Justice Abang believes there is 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 also said he agreed with the counsel to the plaintiff that they decamped from their political parties at the time their parties needed them most.

The judge, however, said the plaintiff was not a political party that sponsored the defected lawmakers, or the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which was conferred with the powers to monitor political parties.

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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 any thing before the court to show that the voters urged them to sue on their behalf.

He said although the plaintiff has a good case and the good intention of promoting good political behavior and rule of law, it has no locus standi to sue.

The judge, thereafter, struck out the suit.

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