September 06, (THEWILL) – The Legal Team of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Plateau State Chapter, has pointed out that last Friday’s Tribunal judgement, in respect of last February’s Jos North/Bassa federal constituency rerun election has not in any way impacted on the validity of the PDP candidates for the various elective positions in the 2023 general elections.
In a statement in Jos, the legal team said “opponents and some mischief makers are peddling falsehood that the PDP and its candidates may not be on the ballot paper for the 2023 general elections as a fallout of the recent Tribunal decision delivered on Friday, 2nd September, 2022, in respect of the Jos North/Bassa House of Representatives bye-election.”
The statement said it is important “to clarify that the decision of the Election Tribunal relates only to the primaries conducted for the Jos North/Bassa Federal Constituency bye-election, which the tribunal erroneously nullified by relying on the Justice Kunda judgement, purported to justify the unprecedented exclusion of the PDP from participating in the 2021 Local Government Council elections”, adding that “the Justice Kunda judgement is now on Appeal before the Supreme Court.
“We wish to state without doubt or equivocation that even though the judgement of the Election Tribunal is being appealed with very meritorious grounds of appeal, it has no bearing whatsoever on the nomination and qualification of candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party, Plateau State, for the 2023 governorship and legislative assembly elections.
“It is pertinent to enlighten the PDP members, its teeming supporters, and the voting public that the primary that produced Hon. Musa Agah, as the PDP candidate was conducted under the 2010 Electoral Act, while the primaries that produced candidates for the 2023 elections were conducted under the 2022 Electoral Act.”
It also noted that the 2022 Electoral Act excluded ALL statutory delegates, i.e. mainly Exco members of any party from being delegates during the Congresses that produced candidates for the 2023 elections.
According to the Legal Team, “the Chris Hassan-led Exco which is mischievously rumoured to be illegal, emerged through a democratic and transparent process, and there are no known legal impediments (except self-serving extrapolations by merchants of fortune) hindering them from performing their constitutional duties.
“The PDP and its Legal Team have always been proactive and had envisaged the possibility of using underhand tactics to stop the obviously preferred PDP candidates from winning the 2023 elections, and took steps to forestall such, knowing the capacity of the opponents of the PDP for mischief, impunity, and deliberate mis-information, the National Secretariat of the party pleaded with the Chris Hassan EXCO to step aside for the period of the Congresses and allow a Local Organising Committee it constituted to oversee the process.”
They noted that “the congress which produced the ad hoc delegates of the PDP during the Ward Congresses (unlike the other party which did not conduct any congress to elect delegates), were duly organised and supervised by the Ward Congress Committee appointed by the National Secretariat of the party and went smoothly in over 95% of the wards.
“The few complaints that arose from the Ward Congresses have been largely resolved through the Party’s robust dispute resolution mechanism.
“Thus, the 2022 Electoral Act, PDP Constitution, and Guidelines for the Congresses clearly indicate the time allowed for appeals, as well as those entitled to file such appeals. It is gratifying and re-assuring to note that since the governorship primaries were concluded in May, 2022, there has not been a single administrative or legal complaint by any of the noble aspirants who contested with the candidate of the party, Barrister Caleb Mutfwang.
“The Election Tribunal did not make any pronouncement as to the status and legitimacy of the State leadership of the party as presently constituted, as being mischievously circulated.”
Signed by Sunny Gabriel Odey, Esq., the statement revealed that “the Party has taken a decision to file an appeal against the judgement of the Tribunal last Friday, September 2, 2022, to remedy the monumental travesty of justice.”