The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that Justice Adeniyi Ademola did not order the 37 members of the House of Representatives who defected to the APC to vacate their seats because he is not competent to issue such a ruling, as the issue of whether not they can defect was not before him.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said that it would appeal the ruling because Justice Ademola’s perpetual injunction restraining the concerned lawmakers from participating in motions and debates in the House is unconstitutional and defeats the very purpose for which the members were elected into the House.
It said that Justice Ademola’s unsolicited comments were “clearly gregarious, unnecessary, superfluous and has no foundation in law or fact, hence should be ignored.”
APC asked the Chief Justice of Nigeria to act urgently to sanction Justice Ademola for engaging in mischief that could bring the bench into disrepute.
The statement read: ”If this case had been issued a day later than Monday, we would have said the Judge was caught in the web of April Fool! Alas, he indeed made the ruling on Monday, hence the need for us to take it very seriously for several reasons.
“Firstly, the question whether the House of Representatives members should vacate their seats was not a question before Justice Ademola for determination. The only question for him to determine was whether the APC members, with their numerical strength at that time, had the right to change the House leadership such as the Majority Leader, Chief Whip and their deputies. So Justice Ademola had no business commenting on seats being vacated.
”Secondly, it is highly unprofessional and unethical for one Judge to delve into a matter that is sub judice in another court. A Judge should not make comments on matters being litigated in another court. The question of seats being vacated or otherwise is being heard by Justice Ahmed Mohammed in the Federal High Court in Abuja who, on March 29, 2014, said the issue was still live before him and is not ripe for Judgment.”
APC recalled the alarm it raised in a statement on December 14, 2013, that the PDP was shopping for a pliant Judge who would be heavily induced to do its bidding in the case over the defections from the ruling party to the APC.
In the December statement, the opposition party warned against any attempt by the PDP and the Presidency to “turn back the hands of the clock as far as the cleaning up of the judiciary is concerned, by inducing a servile and disreputable Judge to do the duo’s bidding.”
In the said statement, APC said: ”We recognize the efforts of the present CJN to sanitize the Judiciary since she assumed the mantle of leadership but she should not allow any black leg to reverse the gains that have been recorded on the altar of unmitigated avarice. This is because if that happens, Nigerians will hold the Judiciary vicariously liable for the catastrophic consequences that may follow.”
Claiming that its alarm had now proven to be prescient, the party wondered whether there was any link between what it termed an exercise in judicial rascality and President Goodluck Jonathan’s recent statement in Kwara that the PDP would soon retrieve its ‘stolen’ mandate from those who defected from the PDP to the APC.
”That presidential boast raises the following questions: What did the President know and when did he know it? Was this judgement procured by the PDP for a price, in which case the President’s statement amounted to a Freudian Slip? Are we to expect more of this?
”It is necessary to unravel this so the PDP and the Presidency, in their desperation, will not paint the judiciary with their brush of failure and crash our democracy,” it said.
The party urged its supporters not to panic as the judgement was “clearly intended to cause mischief”, adding, however, that “the plan by the PDP and the Presidency had fallen like a pack of cards.”