By Sunday Ani
A socio-political advocacy group, Justice For All (JFA), has called on the Election Petition Tribunals in Plateau State to ensure justice and people’s will prevailed in all election matters in the state.
The call followed what the group called strange and nebulous judgments coming from a tribunal, which keeps annulling results on grounds of pre-election issues.
This is contained in a joint statement by the group’s Project Coordinator, Sam Imodibe and Director of Press, Francis T. Nyame, after its meeting in Lagos. It said after its deliberation on judgements so far delivered in the state, which have raised tension, it is calling on the appellate court to rectify errors in the judgements and arrest what it called a looming anarchy.
While expressing hope in the ability of the appellate court to rectify the errors, the group also called on the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal (GEPT) to do justice and uphold the will of the people.
The group said it was bewildered as to the principles of law being applied by the two election tribunals in the state.
It stressed that the tribunals led by Justice William Olamide and Justice Mohammed Tukur respectively, sitting in the same building appeared not to be on the same page, a development that has left the people wondering whether they were using different sets of rules.
Part of the statement read: “We want to know why the Tukur led tribunal is overturning victories, while the Olamide-led tribunal is upholding results of similar elections.
“The Tukur led tribunal’s reason for such rulings is that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lacks structure and legal standing to present candidates for the 2023 elections. This is despite previous judgements by other courts affirming the PDP’s victories in Plateau North Senatorial election and Bassa/Jos North Federal Constituency House of Representatives.
“However, the Justice Olamide tribunal discountenanced the argument of the APC and dismissed the cases on the ground that the PDP validly elected its candidates having resolved the crisis that predated the emergence of the present state executive of the PDP with Chris Hassan as chairman.
“Indeed, the pre-election disputes within the PDP led a Federal High Court to order the party to repeat its congresses which all stakeholders participated in leading to the emergence of Hassan as chairman in February 2022. Since then there has been no dispute in the PDP with all tendencies united as a unit.
“The report of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) regarding the repeat congresses as ordered by the court was tendered before the two panels. But while the Olamide tribunal took cognisance of the INEC compliance report, the Tukur tribunal rejected the same, leading to questions as to the motive of the Tukur tribunal.
“The Tukur ruling is at variance with the Supreme Court’s position and recently applied by the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in dismissing the APM’s questions on Vice President Kashim Shettima’s nomination as Bola Tinubu’s running mate.
“However, we believe that the Appellate Court has the capacity and courage to ultimately and decisively right the wrongs and correct the manifest errors contained in the judgment of the Tukur tribunal in the interest of the unity, stability and corporate existence of Plateau State.”
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