A Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected a prayer by five senators opposed to the emergence of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President to stop the upper legislative chamber from constituting its standing and ad hoc committees.
The five plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2015 –Senators Abu Ibrahim, Kabir Marafa, Ajayi Boroffice, Olugbenga Ashafa and Suleiman Hunkuni – made the request in an ex parte application which was moved by their lawyer, Mamman Osuman (SAN), on Tuesday.
They had anchored their ex parte application on the use of alleged illegitimate Senate Standing Orders 2015 to conduct the election of the current leadership of the Senate on June 9.
In their ex parte application, supported by an affidavit of urgency, the plaintiffs had urged the court to stop the constitution of the Senate committees pending the hearing and determination of their separate application for interim injunction.
But Justice Gabriel Kolawole, in his ruling, dismissed the ex parte application, holding that the urgency attached to it was self-induced.
This, the judge held, was because the plaintiffs had been aware of the alleged use of the illegitimate standing orders since June 8 or 9, 2015, but only chose to file the ex parte application on July 27, which was barely 24 hours to resumption of the Senate from its about one month recess.
The judge also held that the court would hardly intervene in a matter of application of the internal rules of the Senate or the legislature when such action did not amount to “substantial infraction” of the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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 amendment of the 2011 version 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.
Joined as six defendants to the suit are Saraki, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; the Clerks of the National Assembly, the Senate and the National Assembly.
The five plaintiffs are members of the pro-Ahmed Lawan group in the Senate who belonged to the All Progressives Congress-backed Unity Forum that supported Lawan for the position of the Senate President but lost to Saraki on June 9, 2015 during the first session of the 8th Senate.