The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has asked the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja, to sack a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, for defecting to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Dogara, who represents Dass, Tafawa Balewa and Bogoro Federal Constituency of Bauchi State in the House, defected from the APC to the PDP before the last general election and won a re-election to the House on the platform of the PDP.
According to court documents, Dogara, on July 24, returned to the APC after submitting a resignation letter to the PDP Chairman of the Bogoro ‘C’ Ward, in Bauchi State.
The PDP and its Bauchi State Chairman, Mr. Hamza Akuyam, listed as plaintiffs in the suit, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1060/2020 are contending among others, that by virtue of Section 68(1)(g) of the constitution, Dogara, by defecting from the party that sponsored him to the National Assembly before the expiration of his tenure, ought to vacate the seat as he is no longer qualified to partake in the activities of the House.
Listed as defendants in the suit filed for the plaintiffs by their lawyer, Mr. Jibrin S. Jibrin, are Dogara, the Speaker of House of Representatives, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the APC.
Akuyam stated in a supporting affidavit that there was no crisis or division in the PDP, being the political platform under which the election of the first defendant (Dogara) as a serving member of the National Assembly was sponsored and from which he has defected to the fifth defendant (APC) before the expiration of the period for which he was elected.
He also stated that there were no mergers involving the PDP from which Dogara defected.
Akuyam added that having defected from the PDP before the expiration of the period for which he was elected, Dogara “has lost his seat/office as a member of the House of Representatives and is no longer entitled to participate in the legislative proceedings and other businesses of the National Assembly and/or entitled to salaries and allowances as a member of the National Assembly.”
He said given the facts and circumstances of the case, the Speaker of the House of Representatives “is under legal obligation” to declare Dogara’s seat vacant and allow INEC to conduct an election for his replacement.
The plaintiffs are praying the court to, among others, declare that Dogara has ceased to be a member of the National Assembly from the date he defected to the APC.
They want the court to direct Dogara to vacate his seat in the National Assembly and to refund all the salaries, allowances and all emoluments collected from the date of his defection from the PDP.
They want the court to direct the Speaker of the House of Representatives to give effect to Section 68(1) of the Constitution to forthwith declare Dogara’s seat vacant and for INEC to conduct a by-election for his replacement.
The suit, now before Justice Okon Abang, was not heard on December 7 when it was listed for hearing.
The court has now rescheduled the hearing for March 5, 2021.