Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, as well as other Senate officials on Monday shunned a scheduled hearing in a suit seeking their removal from office.
The removal of Saraki and the other principal officers is being sought on the grounds of alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 used for the conduct of their elections shortly after the proclamation of the 8th Senate on June 9.
Plaintiffs in the suit, which is before the Federal High Court in Abuja, are Senators Abu Ibrahim, Kabir Marafa, Ajayi Boroffice, Olugbenga Ashafa and Suleiman Hunkuni, all supporters of Senator Ahmed Lawan for the Senate presidency eventually won by Saraki.
The six defendants in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2015, are Saraki, Ekweremadu, the National Assembly and the Clerks of both the National Assembly and the Senate.
None of the defendants was represented by their lawyers when the matter came up on Monday before Justice Adeniyi Ademola, to whom the case was re-assigned after he took over from Justice Gabriel Kolawole as the vacation judge of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.
While delivering a ruling during Monday’s proceedings, Justice Ademola noted that the choice of Monday for the hearing of the plaintiffs’ motion on notice seeking an order restraining the Senate from going ahead to constitute its standing and ad hoc committees was with the consent of lawyers to the parties to the suit.
However, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Chief Mamman Osuman (SAN), withdrew the motion on notice during the proceedings, saying the essence of the application had been overtaken by event with some of the committees already constituted.
Justice Ademola, while striking out the motion on notice in a short ruling, noted that the application contained the same set of prayers that were in the plaintiffs’ ex parte application earlier dismissed by Justice Kolawole.
The plaintiffs had anchored their suit on the use of alleged illegitimate and unconstitutional Senate Standing Orders 2015 to conduct the election of the current leadership of the Senate on June 9.
The plaintiffs alleged that the Senate 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 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
They argued that the said amendment was in breach of the “prescriptive procedures” stipulated by the extant provisions of section 60 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Rule 110(1), (2), (3), (4) and (5) of the Senate Standing Orders 2011 (as amended).
They therefore contended that the election of the current leadership of the Senate and other proceedings based on the unconstitutional Orders was null and void.
The senators are seeking, among other prayers, the declaration of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 as null and void for being a product of an alleged illegitimate and unconstitutional amendment of the 2011 version of the standing orders.
They also want the court to nullify the amended order as well as the election of Saraki as the Senate President and that of Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President, for being products of the alleged illegal orders.