NASS 1,

Teddy Oscar, Abuja

The House of Representatives on Wednesday dashed any hope that the seats of the 37 members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC), would be declared vacant soon.

This follows the decision of the House to wait until all the cases in court regarding defection of members run their full courses and cleared before it would take a position on the state of the seats of the affected members.

An Abuja Federal High Court, presided over by Justice Adeniyi Ademola, had restrained the affected lawmakers from effecting a change in the leadership of the House in line with the prayers of the plaintiff, the PDP on Monday.

It subsequently declared the defection of the 37 lawmakers illegal and directed that their seats be declared vacant on the floor of the Green Chambers.

But the House, during an executive session held
Wednesday to discuss issues arising from Monday?s court judgement, however, decided to stay action on the matter, pending the conclusion of other similar cases.

Briefing newsmen after the session, deputy chairman, Committee on Media and Public
Affairs, Hon. Victor Afam Ogene, said in arriving at the decision,
the House took cognizance of the fact that precedence has been set in other related cases.

Ogene, who insisted that Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, speaker was not under pressure from above to declare vacant the seats of the 37 lawmakers, pointed out that members have also agreed to insulate the House from the growing tendency of partisanship that is beginning to grow on the floor during plenary.

?If you recall, a certain member of the House from Ondo State defected from Labour Party (LP) to the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). The matter is still in court, and the member is still participating in the affairs of the House.

?After our inauguration, we had decided to keep party affiliations aside to make laws for the good governance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We thought it right to reinstate that as our core mandate and the point was well taken by members at the executive session,? he said.

He added that the House also noticed that some publications had tried to drag the persons and offices of the presiding officers into the ongoing judicial matter.

?The speaker and deputy speaker did not appeal any judgment in their individual capacities, but rather, the House as an institution, was made a party to the different cases,? he added.

Recall that the defectors, who had defected from PDP to APC on December 18, 2013, were sued alongside the principal officers by the PDP over alleged plan to alter the leadership of the House.

Also recall that the APC members of the House, on Tuesday, had rejected Monday?s court order against the 37 lawmakers, saying that the ruling has only confirmed their earlier fears.

?For us in the APC, we were not surprised because in the course of the proceedings the same judge had earlier issued a preservative order as soon as the arguments against his jurisdiction in the case was taken. This was our first apprehension of the commencement of the case,? Hon. Samson Osagie, minority whip of the House and leader of the APC caucus, said on Tuesday.

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