By: Valentine Adese, Alfred Saiki and Ifeanyi Okonkwo
The seat of the Member representing Langtang South Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly may remain vacant for a very long time as the case between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission before the Federal High Court (FHC) sitting in Jos, the state capital, is becoming more complicated.
You would recall that the intention of INEC to exclude the PDP and its candidate from the rerun ordered by the Court of Appeal and earlier slated for 20th February, 2016, made the PDP to approach the FHC challenging the decision of INEC.
In order to protect the “Res” of the matter, the FHC had ordered that the name of PDP and its candidate should be on the ballot paper pending the determination of the substantive matter.
You would recall that in response to the order of the Court, INEC applied to the court for it to reverse itself or discharge the order. The application of INEC was refused and the matter was adjourned for hearing.
On the said adjourned date, the suit No. FHC/J/CS/6/2016 became complicated, as the All Progressive Congress (APC) was seeking for joinder in the matter.
Ruling on the matter on 13th April, 2016, the Federal High Court, refused APC’s application to be joined in the on-going matter.
In its ruling, the Court held that, the application of the APC does not show how the party becomes a necessary party in the suit.
You would recall that in its Motion on Notice brought pursuant to Orders 9, Rules 5, and 6 of the , Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules, dated 25th/02/2016, the APC, was seeking for the leave of the FHC for the party to be joined as the 2nd Defendant in suit No. FHC/J/CS/6/2016, between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It was also seeking an Order of the Court, directing the PDP (Plaintiff), to amend the Originating Summons, to include the APC.
You would also recall that the APC’s Counsel, Wilfred Lakai Jemcwat (Esq) of S. S. Obende & Co, at the Court premises, had told journalists after the ruling, that the APC, will not appeal against the ruling of the FHC, which refused the party from being joined in the on-going suit No. FHC/J/CS/6/2016 between PDP and INEC.
According to W. L. Jemcwat (Esq) “The Party will not appeal the ruling because, the party has already filed another Originating Summons before the FHC2.”
“We are therefore going to put in our efforts other than pursuing an appeal. So, in the interim, we are going to respect that ruling.” He added.
However, at the hearing of the matter today, 21st April, 2016, at the FHC, the APC has already filed an application for stay of proceedings before the FHC.
To add to that, another party interested in the suit, has also filed for joinder in the matter through its counsel F.O Shuaibu (Esq).
To try to tidy the file and record of Court, the presiding judge has ordered all parties in the matter and those seeking joinder, including the APC applying for Stay of Proceedings to file and sever all necessary documents before the next adjourned date being 3rd of May, 2016.