A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday struck out a suit seeking an order to declare vacant the seats of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and 52 others following their defection from the political parties that sponsored their elections into the National Assembly.
The suit instituted by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) was filed last year. The group had claimed that since the lawmakers abandoned the parties that sponsored their elections, without evidence of internal division, they must vacate the seats.
Apart from the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, other lawmakers targeted by the suit include former Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, former Governor of Kano, Rabiu Kwankwaso, Kogi West Senator, Dino Melaye among others.
Delivering judgment on Friday, Justice Okon Abang held that the plaintiff which instituted the suit lacked the locus standi (the legal right) to institute the suit.
According to Punch, Justice Abang held that LEDAP’s status as a registered corporate body under the Company and Allied Matters Act was not sufficient to confer the right to institute the action on behalf of the public.
He further maintained that the plaintiff, not being the Independent National Electoral Commission, the political parties from which the legislators defected to the other ones, a member of any of the political parties, a member of the constituencies of the legislators or a registered voters in the lawmakers’ constituencies, it lacked the legal capacity to institute the action.
The judge held that despite the noble intention of the plaintiff, its lack of locus standi to file the action had robbed the court of the jurisdiction to consider the merit of its claims in the suit.
It added that the plaintiff’s failure to join the Peoples Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress, and the Action Democratic Congress which sponsored the elections of the defector legislators, was fatal to the suit.