Former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio has faulted a suit seeking his sack along with some other lawmakers who defected from their parties last year.
Akpabio prayed the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss the suit for being incompetent on the grounds that the plaintiff – the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) – sued without possessing the requisite locus standi.
Arguing Akpabio’s case on Tuesday, his lawyer, Sunday Ameh (SAN) contended that LEDAP, not being a political party or a member of the National Assembly, could not be seen crying for the political parties, from which the legislators defected.
While tendering two exhibits, Ameh told the court that his client was suspended from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at his ward level and that he was later expelled from the same PDP at the local government level.
He pleaded with the court to take cognisance of two letters of July and August 2018 by which the PDP conveyed his client’s suspension and later expulsion to him.
Ameh argued that Akpabio opted for the All Progressives Congress (APC), in line with provision of Section 40 of the 1999 constitution, as the alternative party to actualise his interest.
He argued that an uncommon situation was foisted on his client, having been thrown out of the PDP by the officials of the party.
Ameh urged the court to accept the peculiar fact that Akpabio did not willingly abandon the PDP that provided the platform for him to access the Senate in 2015, but that he defected because of the way the party treated him.
He said Akpabio defected to the APC to prevent himself from becoming a political orphan and to actualise his political ambition.
Mahmoud Magaji (SAN) who represented the Senate President, Olusola Saraki and other Senators named in the suit, described that case as an abuse of court process.
Magaji argued that Section 40 of the Constitution allows the defendant to associate with any political party of their choice.
Lawyer to the plaintiff, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) urged the court to discountenance the arguments by Ameh and Magaji and grant his client’s prayers, which include the sack of the defecting lawmakers.
After listening to arguments by the lawyers, Justice Okon Abang adjourned till May17 for judgment.