Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in his first response to the various suits arising from the crisis over the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Orders 2015, on Wednesday, before a Federal High Court in Abuja, alleged that the court papers were not properly served on him.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole however dismissed the complaint after it was discovered that his lawyer, Mr. Sikiru Oke, who said he appeared for the Senate President “in protest” had not filed “memorandum of appearance,” which lawyers must file before they can represent their client in court with respect to a particular case.
The five plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/651/2015 are senators who are opposed to the emergence of Saraki as the Senate President.
They are Senators Abu Ibrahim, Kabir Marafa, Ajayi Boroffice, Olugbenga Ashafa and Suleiman Hunkuni.
The six defendants to the suit are Saraki, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; the National Assembly, the Clerks of the National Assembly and the Senate.
The plaintiffs seek, among other prayers, an order nullifying the Senate Standing Orders 2015 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 rules.
Justice Kolawole had on July 28, 2015 adjourned the case till Wednesday for the hearing of the plaintiffs’ motion on notice seeking an order restraining Saraki and other defendants from going ahead to constitute the standing committees of the Senate pending when their suit challenging the validity of the Senate Standing Orders 2015 is determined.
But Saraki’s lawyer appeared in court on Wednesday contending that the court processes were served on his office instead of the personal service prescribed the Federal High Court Rules 2009.
In response, the plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr. Dele Adesina (SAN), contended that there were obligatory provisions of the same court rules which envisages and validates service on Saraki through his office.
Adesina also argued that Oke could not be heard since he had yet to file a memorandum of appearance to appear for the first defendant (Saraki).
The judge agreed with Adesina and also disqualified Oke from appearing for Saraki during the proceedings.
Justice Kolawole however directed that the case be transferred to another judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who will take over as the vacation judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja on August 10.
He adjourned the matter till August 13.
Justice Kolawole had in a ruling on July 28, dismissed an ex parte application by the plaintiffs’ counsel, Chief Mamman Osuman (SAN), in which they had earlier sought the restraining order against the constitution of the senate standing committees.
In the ruling which touched on the merit of the case, Justice Kolawole had said the disputes arising from the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Orders constituted internal legislative affair of the Senate which the court would not want to intervene in.