By Valentine Adese
Politicians in Plateau State have been thrown into deep confusion over the outcomes of the political suits before the Federal High Courts (FHCs) sitting in Jos, the Plateau State Capital, with respect to the rerun election ordered by the Court of Appeal, for the seat of Member representing Langtang South Constituency in the Plateau State House of Assembly, as they continue to hear of conflicting orders given to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the two FHCs.
You would recall that FHC1, had earlier ordered INEC to include the name and logo in the Ballot paper that would be used in conducting the rerun election earlier slated for 20th February, 2016 or any other dated rescheduled for the rerun, pending the determination of the suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) challenging INEC over its announced plans to exclude the party from the rerun.
You would recall that in a swift move, the All Progressive Congress (APC), filed a similar Suit No: FHC/J/CS/10/2016,before FHC2, by way of an Originating Summons, seeking the FHC2 to declare that INEC has no powers to include PDP or any of its candidate in the rerun.
The APC in another legal move also, sought for joinder in the suit before FHC1 between the PDP and INEC.
Although the joinder was refused by FHC1, APC has further applied for Stay of Proceedings as the party has head to apply the FHC1’s ruling.
However, while the parties in the suit before the FHC1 are waiting on the ruling of the Court on whether it would stay proceedings, FHC2 has delivered its Judgment on the later suit filed by APC against INEC.
The FHC2 in its judgment declared that by virtue of section 31 of the Electoral Act, (as amended) INEC (being the 1st defendant), is not entitled to receive any list or name of any candidate as nominated from the PDP for election into the Langtang South Constituency of the Plateau State House of Assembly.
The Presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Musa Haruna Kury, in his judgment also declared that by virtue of sections 32 and 33 of the Electoral Act, PDP is not entitled to substitute or change its disqualified candidate for the purpose of participating in the rescheduled election for Langtang South Constituency of Plateau State House of Assembly.
Although the Counsel to APC, W. L. Jemcwat (Esq) has commended the Judgment as “sound and on merit,’ the Defendants Lawyers were not in Court to react as they were not present.
In his reaction to the Judgment, the APC candidate for the rerun election, Mr. Jackson, while commending the judgment said, “this is Democracy at work. The Judiciary has continued to establish itself as the last hope of the common man as they are doing what the people want.”
As the people wait for the next step INEC would take, PDP members have stated questioning when and how the processes of the suit were served and on whom.
They have told the general public that they were not served and when they got to know of the pending suit, they discovered that the judge was already writing his judgment which they cannot stop.
From findings, the PDP is yet to brief any counsel on the matter to appeal the judgment.
REALITY WILL KEEP YOU POSTED!