Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and three others yesterday in Abuja shunned the resumed hearing of a suit seeking their sack.
Although it was not mandatory for Saraki, Ekweremadu and the other defendants in the suit to attend proceedings in person, they were required to be represented by their lawyers.
Yesterday, none of the defendants was represented by lawyers when the case was called before Justice Adeniyi Ademola, to whom the case was transferred from Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who ended his sitting as the vacation judge at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Ademola, who was uncomfortable that none of the defendants was represented in court, noted that the choice of Monday was with the consent of lawyers to parties in the suit.
The judge, following the decision by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mamman Osuman (SAN) to withdraw his motion for interlocutory injunction, struck out the motion.
Justice Ademola agreed with Osuman that the motion, which sought to restrain the Senate leadership from constituting ad hoc committees, had been overtaken by events, and that the prayers contained in the motion were similar to those contained in the plaintiffs’ ex-parte application which Justice Kolawole earlier refused to grant.
The judge, whose time as the vacation judge, will end soon, said he would return the case file to the chief judge for reassignment at the end of the court’s vacation.
Other defendants in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2015, are the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly and the Clerk of the Senate.
Senators Abu Ibrahim, Kabir Marafa, Ajayi Boroffice, Olugbenga Ashafa and Suleiman Hunkuyi are the plaintiffs.
It is their contention that the election of Saraki and Ekweremadu as president and deputy president was invalid on the grounds that the Senate’s Standing Orders 2015 used for the election was a forged document.
The plaintiffs argued that since the Senate’s Standing Order 2011, which was the valid Senate Rules as at the proclamation of the Eighth Senate on June 9, was not known to have been validly altered before the election, the 2015 Rules could not be said to be a legitimate document.
They stated, in a supporting affidavit, that the Senate’s Standing Orders 2015 was “contrived” from the amendment of the 2011 version of the Orders without following its (the 2011 edition’s) relevant provisions and those of the Constitution.
The plaintiffs argued that the amendment was in breach of the “prescriptive procedures” stipulated by Section 60 of the constitution (as amended) and Rule 110(1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Senate Standing Orders 2011 (as amended).
They prayed the court for the following reliefs:
*A declaration that the Senate’s Standing Order 2011(as amended) is the proper, valid, constitutional and subsisting Rules/Standing Orders of the Eighth Senate.
*A declaration that the Senate’s Standing Order 2015(as amended), not being a product of any legitimate amendment pursuant to Rule 110 of the Senate’s Standing Orders 2011 (as amended), is invalid, illegal, unconstitutional.
*A declaration that the election of the 1st and 2nd defendants as the president and peputy president of the Senate of the Eighth Senate pursuant to the Senate’s Standing Orders 2015 and contrary to Rules 3(3)(e) and (k), Chapter II of the Senate’s Standing Orders 2011, is illegal and unconstitutional.
*An order setting aside the purported election of the 1st and 2nd defendants as Senate president and deputy Senate president of the Eighth Senate; an order setting aside the Senate Standing Orders 2015 and an order directing the Eighth Senate to elect its presiding officers in accordance with Section 54 of the Constitution and Rules 3(3)(e) and (k)of the Senate’s Standing Orders 2011.