UPC Seeks Court’s Pronouncement on Process for Removal of Saraki, Dogara, Deputies

0

By Alex Enumah in Abuja

A newly registered political party, the United Peoples’ Congress (UPC), has approached the Federal High Court Abuja, seeking the court’s pronouncement on the process for the removal of the presiding officers of the National Assembly.

The UPC, in the suit dated and filed 31 August, by its counsel, Chief M. A. Igwe, is specifically seeking a declaratory action to guide the party following, “several confusing interpretations being given to the issues raised for determination”.

In an 11-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the UPC National Chairman, Kenneth Ibe-Kalu, the plaintiff claimed that the determination of the suit would guide persons seeking election on its platform into the National Assembly as to their rights when elected as legislators as well as the rights of their party.

Ibe-Kalu disclosed that the plaintiff is already planning a retreat, which will be regular, for all its candidates for the 2019 elections, to let the candidates understand their rights and powers, including their rights and powers as sought to be declared by the court.

The deponent averred that: “As a registered political party, the plaintiff has a right to know the true position of the law as provided by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), as the provisions of the Constitution are not self-executory.

“That it is only a court set up under the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as this Honourable Court that has the power to interpret the Constitution.”

The plaintiff, in a motion exparte brought pursuant to the inherent jurisdiction of the court, however prayed for an order of court granting leave/fiat for the hearing of the suit by a vacation judge as well as an order granting leave of the court to abridge the time allowed by the rules for the hearing of the originating summons.

The exparte dated and filed 31 August by the UPC’s lawyer, Chief M. A. Igwe, is predicated on three grounds, one of which is that the subject matter of the suit may be defeated if the action is stayed till regular court resumes.

Those sued as defendants are: the Attorney General of the Federation, National Assembly, President of the Senate, Speaker, House of Representatives and Clerk of the National Assembly.

Some of the questions posed before the court for determination in the originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/944/20, are that: “Whether in view of section 50(1) (a) and (b) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), it is only members of the National Assembly and not political parties that has the right and powers to elect or remove presiding officers of the National Assembly and their deputies, to wit, the President of the Senate, the Deputy President of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives?

“Whether in view of section 50 (2) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), a presiding officer of the Senate or the House of Representatives or their deputies can only be removed from office by a resolution of the Senate or House of Representatives of votes of members not less than votes of two-thirds majority of members of that House?”

Upon the determination of the above questions in the affirmative, the plaintiff wants the court to declare: “That the President of the Senate, the Deputy President of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives can only be removed from office by the provisions of section 50(1) (a) and (b) and section 50 (2) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended and in particular, can only be removed by a resolution of that House by votes of members not less than two-thirds majority of ALL the members of that House.

“That the two-thirds majority for removal of President of the Senate, the Deputy President of the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives as provided in section 50(1) (a) and (b) and section 50 (2) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended refers to two-thirds of All members of that House and not two-thirds of members present at the sitting.”

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.