Ahead of Tuesday, June 11, 2019 elections for presiding officers of the ninth Assembly, an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice O.A.Musa, has granted an interim injunction restraining the clerk of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the Senate and the Sergeant At Arms to the Senate and others from relying or enforcing the Senate standing orders 2015 (as amended) in the conduct of election of presiding officers of the upper legislative chamber pending the determination of this suit.
The court however ordered the red chamber to apply its standing orders 2011 (as amended) by the Senate on May 24, 2011, which prescribed the use of open ballot rather than secret ballot mode in the election of presiding officers of the senate.
The order in suit number FCT/HC/BW/CV/136/2019 with motion no: M/266/2019, was given after the court read its on notice and the accompanying affidavit of Senator Jibrin Barau filed by his Counsel Ebere Nwanya Esq.
The move has been described by political watchers as part of the All Progressives Congress (APC) strategy to ensure that their chosen candidate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, emerges Senate President.
Senator Barau is the secretary of the Lawan for Senate President Support group.
APC Senators had faulted the use of senate standing orders 2015 (as amended) which they argued the the Bukola Saraki leadership of the Senate “smuggled” in the use of secret ballot mode for voting without the approval of members of the senate.
They argued that the matter is still before the court therefore the standing orders 2015 of the senate (as amended) cannot be applied in tomorrow’s election until the matter is decided by the court.
However the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Court No 13, Bwari, Abuja, ordered that: “an order of interim injunction restraining the respondents and each of them, whether by themselves, servants or agents or otherwise from further using, relying or enforcing the senate standing orders 2015 (as amended) for the purposes of conducting any legislative business or affairs in the 9th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including but not limited to the election of Presiding officers of the Senate to commence on the 11th of June, 2019 and any other day pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion in this case.”
It continued: “An interim order restraining the first & second respondents and each of them whether by themselves or otherwise not to use any other senate standing orders for the inauguration of the 9th Assembly whatsoever including but limited to the election of Presiding officers of the senate on Tuesday, 11th June 2019 and any other day except the senate standing Orders 2011 (as amended) by the senate on the 24th May, 2011.
“As the order was heard and made ex-parte any party aggrieved shall file a motion to set aside or vacate the said order and serve same on the applicant or counsel before the next adjourned date”.
The court therefore adjourned to Thursday, June 13, 2019 for definite hearing.