â€¢ Politics stalls swearing in of Etim
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Legal Department of the National Assembly has advised the leadership of the Senate to stay action on whether or not to swear in Hon. Bassey Etim, following a judgment of the Federal High Court, Uyo, that he is the rightful winner of the Akwa Ibom North-east senatorial seat.
The seat is currently being occupied at the Senate by Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, who has since filed an appeal against the execution of the judgment.
A similar tussle where the Senate had sworn in Senator Atai Aidoko (Kogi East) after a Federal High Court ruled against Senator Isaac Alfa, had caused the upper legislative chamber to be accused of double standards.
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is accused of considering his closeness to the Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West) to deliberately stall the swearing in of Etim.
Akpabio at various times, had maintained that Akpan is the authentic winner of the seat.
The official position however is predicated on the advise of the legal department of the National Assembly, THISDAY reliably gathered.
The Chief Litigation Officer, Mr. Charles Yoila, in a memo dated April 20, 2017 and addressed to the Director of Litigation and Counselling, advised that the Senate President awaits further details on the matter before taking further steps.
â€œYou may wish to advise that the status quo be maintained by all stakeholders and parties pending the hearing of the hearing of the Motion of Notice for mandatory injunction and stay of execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Uyo,â€ the memo read.
Yoila further noted that though the National Assembly is not a party to the appeal, it has to respect the fact that there is a pending motion of notice praying for an order of mandatory injunction, an order setting aside the Certificate of Return issued to Hon. Bassey Etim and an order staying execution of the judgment of the Federal High Court, Uyo.
â€œIt is trite law that once an application has been filed for an inductive relief, all steps should be taken to ensure the status quo (position of things at the time of the appeal or suit) are maintained by parties of persons out in notice of the Application,â€ the memo read.
Sources however, told THISDAY that Etimâ€™s confrontational stance against the National Assembly, is not helping his case.
â€œRather than engage the leadership, Etim has been fighting from the outside with lawyers who have been making inciting statements against the institution of the National Assembly, and against Saraki himself,â€ a sourceÂ said.