The House of Representatives member who represented Bali/Gassol Federal Constituency of Taraba State, Garba Chede, has cried out over Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila’s alleged refusal to swear him in, despite a court order directing him to do so.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared Mubarak Gambo as the winner of the 2019 Bali/Gassol Federal Constituency election, but the Federal High Court in Abuja had quashed the victory, declaring Mr Chede as the bona fide winner of the election.
The court also ordered Mr Gbajabiamila to swear Mr Chede in as a member of the House.
Speaking with newsmen in Abuja, the lawmaker lamented that the Speaker was yet to obey the court order, alleging that President Muhammadu Buhari’s Personal Assistant on Domestic Affairs, Sarki Abba, was behind his ordeal.
He said: “The Federal High Court has granted an order that I should be sworn in as a member representing Bali/Gassol Federal Constituency, but I am yet to be sworn in. Though, the order is the order of mandamus which means the order mandates the Speaker to swear me in.
“But when I brought the order, I handed it over to Mr. Speaker and after he read the order, the Speaker said there is somebody called Sarki Abba who is a Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs in the presidency who has an interest on the current person.
“The S.A on Domestic Affairs equally told Mr Speaker that the current occupant has gone to appeal the judgement and he also said it is the culture of the House to shield a seating member even if there is Court order. It is not automatic to swear in a new member at that point.”
Mr Chede further told newsmen that the Minority Leader of the House and other members had persuaded the Speaker to respect the court order but to no avail.
“The Minority leader of the House, Hon. Ndidi Elumelu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) attacked him and told him to obey Court order. To my surprise, a lawmaker is so adamant to the ruling of Court.
“I am surprised that the Speaker disobeyed Court judgement and I doubt much how he will make law and disobey the law at the same time,” Mr Chede lamented.
Speaking on what to do, he said, “now we are going back to court to seek another directive. The surprising thing is that Mr. Speaker is a lawyer and he knows the implication of what he is doing. When we are talking of court order, we are talking of the law and law supersedes every individual.
“The story of Sarki Abba, I am not the only one he told. He told many people that Sarki Abba at the presidency is interested in the member occupying my office illegally.
“Of course, the action of the Speaker is enough to give opposition a chance to take over because if the Speaker that is our head in APC cannot respect the Court order, that is total destruction.”
The lawmaker further revealed that the Attorney-General of the Federation had written the Speaker on the position of the Court, advising him to do the needful.
Mr Chede said: “The Attorney-General of the Federation who is the law officer of the Federation wrote him first that he should swear in Hon. Garba Chede and even the legal department of the National Assembly.
“He wrote Mr. Speaker to swear me in. But all he said was that I should go and bring the Court order. He changes like a chameleon.
“So, all my fate now is in Court for another mandate. If the Speaker chooses to disobey the Court order, let’s see how it goes.
“But, this offence, although I am not a lawyer, may land him in prison. I am assuring my supporters that we are going to get the victory against the Speaker’s will.”
The lawmaker wondered why the Speaker would obey few elements in the executive rather than the institution of the Judiciary.
“I met the house leader, Hon. Ado Doguwa over the issue and in my presence, Ado Doguwa text him. He called him and told him that Hon. Garba is our member and even the other person did not participate in the primary, even our head boy, Hon. Mutari Betara also contributed that he should swear me in and he refused.
“Also, one of our leader, Hon. James Faleke told him to respect Court order, he refused and telling him that there is one, S.A, to the presidency called Sarki Abba who is interested in the guy occupying the seat and Faleke was surprised and asked what concerns the President’s Special Assistant with the National Assembly.”