79 Senators, Reps drag Tukur, others to court


THE crisis rocking the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deepened on Wednesday as 22 Senators and 57 House of Representatives members dragged the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, in a bid to stop the party from declaring their seats vacant.
The 79 lawmakers, who defected to the new faction of the party, had, through their counsel, Tairu Adebayo, filed the suit at the registry of the court wherein they stated that the division within the party necessitated the holding of a parallel convention and that they were justified legally to defect.
They had joined along with Bamanga Tukur, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Reps, PDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as  2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants, respectively.
The applicants are asking the  court to determine whether, considering the circumstances in the national and various state chapters of the PDP, there exists a faction or division within the party.
They also asked whether any of the plaintiffs or other members of the PDP holding elective seats, who desire to become a member of another faction of the party or any other political party, is not saved by  the proviso to section 68 (1) (g) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
The lawmakers also asked whether in view of the proviso to section 68 (1) (g) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the 1st defendant or any other officer of the 4th defendant or authority howsoever described can declare the seats of any of the plaintiffs or other members of the 4th defendant that opted to join another political party vacant in the present peculiar and precarious circumstance of the 4th defendant.
They, therefore, asked the court to declare that the circumstances prevailing in the various state chapters of the party, which led to factions/divisions as witnessed at the Special National Convention of the 4th defendant, held on 31st August, 2013 and holding of a parallel convention simultaneously at another venue, followed up with the opening of a parallel National Head Office and release of the names of new parallel national officers constitute and qualify as crisis and divisions anticipated under section 68 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.
They also sought a declaration that any of the plaintiffs or other members of the party who, pursuant to the crisis that led to factions/divisions in the 4th defendant, joined or desires to join another political party is/are saved by the proviso to section 68 (1) (g) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended without losing his/their elective seats.
The lawmakers also prayed the court to declare that in view of the proviso to section 68 (1) (g) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, whether the 1st defendant  or any other officer of the 4th defendant or any person or authority whatsoever cannot declare vacant the seats of any of the plaintiffs or other members of the 4th defendant that joined or who may desire to become members of another political party in view of the present crisis that created factions /divisions in the 4th defendant vacant.
The lawmakers are also seeking an order restraining the 2nd and 3rd defendants from conducting any proceeding in their respective chambers aimed at declaring the seat (s) of any of the plaintiffs or other members of the 4th defendant who joined or intended to become members of another political party vacant in view of the present circumstance in the 4th defendant.
They further prayed for an order restraining the 5th defendant from accepting nominations of any purported candidate and conducting by-election aimed at filling the seats of any of the plaintiffs or other members of the 4th defendant who joined or may wish to become members of another political party in view of the present circumstances in the 4th defendant.
The case has not yet been assigned to any judge.


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