Yakubu Itse, addressing a press conference.

By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Jos – Stakeholders in Plateau State have raised concerns over the conflicting judgment delivered by the National/State Assembly election tribunals in the State and called on the National Judicial Council, and the anti-graft agencies to investigate the matter to ascertained what would have informed the diverse decisions on similar grounds.

The Forum of former Plateau Youth Council leaders also known as the Veterans which has members from the different political parties frowned at the development which they say is capable of truncating the fragile peace in the State as they asked that tribunal justices and lawyers should be made to attend retreats to further sharpen and strengthen their understanding of the law before the commencement of any tribunal cases.

The Forum at a press conference held in Jos on Monday, the text read by it’s Chairman, Yakubu Itse faulted Justice Mohammed Tukur for contradicting the earlier judgment delivered by his colleagues on the same grounds and noted such was tantamount to “sowing a seed of discord and chaos in the State.”

His words, “We, the Veterans and well-meaning Plateau people wish to express our worries and concerns on the unprofessional and contradictory judgements delivered by Justice M. B. Tukur in opposition to preceding judgement of the presidential tribunal of corresponding jurisdiction in respect of Plateau State senatorial and House Representative elections against the weight of evidence and the rule of law.

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“You may recall that the tribunal began delivering its judgements over the past three weeks, which we however witnessed with utter shock and dismay, the conflicting judgements for the representatives of the State at the National Assembly.

“In line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the fabricated and extensively speculated question of structure, upon which the aggrieved petitioners anchored their optimisms in their suit against the PDP, was unfalteringly thrown out and effortlessly quashed by the earlier judgment pronounced by Justice William Rotimi and two other Justices at a tribunal of same jurisdiction.

“Having confirmed the validity of the PDP’s structure as evidenced by the plethora of earlier court judgments that PDP had complied with the judgments of Justice Gang and Kunda, and in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, (as amended), Electoral Act 2022 as well as chapter 8 of the PDP Constitution, the tribunal, in the cases between Sen. Simon Mwadkon Vs others; Hon. Musa A. Agah Vs others, the professional judgment of the tribunal is resounding and commendable.

“In a similar ruling in the case of Hon Isaac Kwallu vs others, the tribunal maintained similar cultured stance which practically have laid to rest the question of whether or not PDP has a structure. The tribunal in these cases unequivocally ruled that nomination and sponsorship of candidates for elections, was the singular duty of the Party and that the procedure of contesting such nomination was limited to, only members of that party, which must be through a Federal High Court.”

The Forum added, “In the subsequent contradictory judgement delivered by Justice M. B. Tukur, on the 11th September, 2023, the respective victories of Hon. Peter Gyendeng, Hon. Musa Bagos and Hon. Beni Lar; as well as the election of Sen. Napoleon Bali were unjustly overturned on same grounds as the first judgements. We assert that for Justice Tukur to singly contradict his learned colleagues who had earlier upheld the elections of Sen. Simon Mwadkon, Hon. Musa A. Agah and Hon Isaac Kwallu on the same grounds tantamount to sowing a seed of discord and chaos in the state.

“While we respect the sanctity of the Nigerian Judiciary, we nevertheless are perturbed about this recent judicial debacle that is capable of setting the State in a needless strife. This development is awfully troubling to us. This press conference is not a Party Press Conference but a conference on behalf of the choice and right of the teeming majority of Plateau citizens.At this juncture, we the Veterans assert that Plateau people have with one and a loud voice chosen the PDP and their choice should be respected.

“That the learned Justice M.B. Tukur erred in law to have unjustifiably interloped into an area external to the core interest and powers of his court (tribunal); hence his judgement should be revisited. That the legal technicalities and intelligence should not be used to nullify the victory of Plateau duly elected leaders. That the election of PDP members who have been duly returned and sworn in which are still pending in the tribunal should be upheld. That the PDP cases that have been upturned by Justice M.B Tukur at the tribunal be restored back to the duly elected members of the PDP at the Appeal level.

“That the National Judicial Council and organs of the law, as well as the anti-graft agencies should investigate the matter for any external or pecuniary motivations that have probably informed the decision of the said justices.That the tribunal justices and lawyers be made to attend retreats to further sharpen, strengthen and improve their understanding of the Law before the commencement of any tribunal case.”