Court refuses application to restrain the appointment of the Minority Leader of the Senate on grounds of locus standi

Hon. Justice G. Kolawole of the Federal High Court sitting at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja today the 22nd of July 2015 refused to grant the interim orders sought by Alaye Pedro and Dr. Okechukwu Ibeh in Suit No. FHC/ABJ/CS/602/2015. The Plaintiffs in the suit filed against the Senate President Bukola Saraki, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the 16 senators from the South-South on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) seeks the following:

“A declaration that Order 3(2) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) on the procedure for appointment of principal officers of the Senate is mandatory.

“A declaration that appointment of the Minority Leader of the Senate in breach of Order 3(2) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) is void.

“An order directing the respondents to comply with Order 3(2) of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 (as amended) ‎in the appointment of the Minority Leader of the 8th Senate of the National Assembly.”

The Plaintiffs also filed an ex parte application seeking leave to serve the originating processes by substituted means as well as interim orders restraining the respondents from appointing or selecting the Minority Leader of the Senate.

The Plaintiffs in their affidavits in support of the ex parte application stated that the larger PDP caucus in the 8th National Assembly have concluded plans to subvert the mandatory provisions of Order 3(2) of the Senate Standing Orders  which prohibits the appointment of a first time Senator into any of the Senate’s principal offices. They therefore prayed the court to restrain the respondents from taking steps on the appointment of the Senate Minority Leader pending the determination of the suit.

The court though granting the prayer for substituted service however refused to grant the interim orders sought or to abridge the time within which the respondents may file a defence to the suit. The court in its ruling stated that the Plaintiffs not being members of the Senate lacked the locus standi to institute the suit or seek the interim orders being sought.

The hearing of the substantive suit has been adjourned to the 5th of October 2015.

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