Court Stops Saraki From Declaring Akpabio’s Seat Vacant

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Court logo

An FCT High Court that sat in Bwari, Wednesday, issued order stopping Senate President, Bukola Saraki (Kwara Central) from declaring vacant the legislative seat of Senator Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North-West – APC).

Before now, the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) had called on the Senate President, Bukola Saraki to declare Senator Godswill Akpabio’s seat vacant.

Akpabio formally dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, August 8, 2018.

According to a report by The Punch, Akpabio’s lawyers, Chikaosolu Ojukwu and Ebere Ahanon, had filed an ex parte application before the court to stop the senate president from declaring the former Akwa Ibom governor’s seat vacant in the upper legislative chamber following his defection from the PDP to the APC.

During the hearing of the application on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, Justice Othman Musa also ordered Saraki to not deny Akpabio access to the National Assembly complex or take any other actions that will impede on his rights as a duly-elected lawmaker until the court determines the originating summons.

Justice Musa adjourned hearing of the originating summons till August 29.

Akpabio, Saraki swap parties

Akpabio resigned as Senate Minority Leader and dumped the PDP for the APC shortly after Saraki dumped the APC for the PDP. Saraki’s defection to the PDP has led to calls, mainly by the APC, for him to resign as the leader of the Senate or face impeachment.

Both parties have made several public allegations of evil plots being plotted by the other party and one of such is that the Senate President plans to declare Akpabio’s seat vacant even though Saraki has denied it.

“All that is mere talk. People are making claims when we don’t even know when they’ll reconvene,” his spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, recently said.

“There’s a lot to be done and we don’t even have time for all that one,” he added

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The national assembly adjourned legislative sittings till September 25 during plenary on July 24, but the APC has relentlessly called for the lawmakers to reconvene.

on Sunday, August 12, 2018, Kassim Afegbua, RAPC’s spokesman, said Akpabio’s seat has become vacant in line with the provisions of the constitution, because there was no division in the PDP.

Afegbua said “We are calling on the senate president to invoke the provisions of section 68 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) in declaring the seat of senator Godswill Akpabio vacant,” the statement read.

“It is not on record that there is division in the opposition PDP, hence this declaration will be a step in the right direction.”

APC Senators seriously plotting

Afegbua also alleged that members of the APC in the Senate have finalised plans to remove the Senate President when plenary resumes.

According to The Cable, the RAPC spokesman also said “By this statement, the national working committee of the R-APC wishes to alert the public that the factional leadership of the All Progressives, Congress Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has perfected plans to make the Tuesday, August 14th resumption date another kettle of fish for the illegal impeachment of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

“This time, they are hell bent on giving nebulous interpretation to the provision of the 1999 constitution (as amended) by using the numbers of senators present to provoke an impeachment. To this end, they have called on all APC senators to make it a point of duty to participate at the plenary on Tuesday to pass a vote of ‘no confidence’ on the senate president.

“This will be followed by orchestrated rancourous plenary session from where impeachment motion would be raised and their illegality perpetrated.

“There have been two meetings of the leaders and the senators in the last 48 hours to perfect this approach. The security agencies have also been briefed according to information reaching us. The APC factional chairman has been boasting and insisting that the senate president would be impeached by whatever means because he no longer deserves to wear the crown.”

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Some political observers are of the opinion that by accepting Senator Godswill Akpabio into its fold, the APC took on a formidable but tainted political figure.

Reacting, Sen. Akpabio said any move to declare his seat vacant in the Senate will prove abortive.

In an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Monday, Akpabio said though he had yet to hear about it, if his seat must be declared vacant, the seats of those, who defected to the PDP should also be declared vacant.

According to him, if the excuse of those calling for his seat to be declared vacant is that there is no rancour in PDP to warrant his defection, they should also know there is no rancour in APC.

“Any defection from APC to PDP, we will like to declare those seats vacant.

“As you are looking at me, do I look perturbed? I have not heard the report.

“I think that is a rumour because at the moment, there is no division in the APC. The APC is one family.

“If you hear about R-APC that was not really a political party, that was not a division.

“It has since been consumed in what they call Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP).”