Nasarawa Senator, Akwashiki, faces fresh legal battle over defection to SDP

…As lawyer asks court to declare seat vacant

An Abuja-based lawyer, Iliya Ibn Aliyu has dragged Senator Godiya Akwashiki to the Federal High Court 1 in Lafia, seeking the court to direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to declare his seat vacant and conduct a fresh election for defecting to the Social Democratic Party (SDP).

Senator Akwashiki, who is representing Nasarawa South Senatorial District, was elected to the National Assembly in 2019 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The senator, who is seeking re-election to the National Assembly for the same position in 2023, lost out at the primary election level, and immediately defected to SDP over allegations of change of delegates’ list, interference from the powers that be, intimidation and harassment of delegates.

Akwashiki was elected to the State House of Assembly as a member of the PDP in 2011. While in the house, he ditched the PDP for APC.

Aliyu of Bougainville Solicitor, Garki, Abuja, is an applicant and counsel in the matter that wants INEC to conduct election over the seat of Senator Akwashiki for joining another political party, SDP.

In an originating summons, order 3 rule 9 and order 9 rule 16 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2019, filed on September 20, 2022, Barr. Aliyu prayed the court to issue an order directing INEC to conduct fresh election in Nasarawa North Senatorial District to refill the vacant seat of Senator Akwashiki for the “unexpired constitutional terms of office.”

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The Abuja-based lawyer is also praying the court to issue an order directing the senator “to refund to the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria all the salaries, emoluments, constituency allowances and other allowances paid to him from 24 June, 2022 up till the date of vacating his Senate seat as may be directed by the order of the court in the circumstances of this suit.”

The applicant/counsel further prayed the court to issue “an order directing the Nigeria Police Force to arrest senator Akwashiki forthwith and prosecute him for illegally attending and/or participating in the Senate business activities and continuing to parade himself as the Senator representing Nasarawa North Senatorial District.”

Aliyu, who cited section 68 (1)(g) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, said that Akwashiki lost his seat in the Senate the moment he left APC, the political party on whose platform he was elected to the National Assembly to SDP.

After hearing the suit filed by Barr. Aliyu on October 12, 2022, at the Federal High Court, Lafia, the presiding Judge, Justice Nehizena I. Afolabi however, adjourned the matter for continuation of hearing on December 8, 2022.

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