Court reinstates Langtang North LG chairman

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Court reinstates Langtang North LG chairman

A Jos High Court on Tuesday reinstated Mr Joshua Laven as the Chairman of Langtang North Local Government Council of the state.

Laven had gone to court to challenge the Plateau State Independent Electoral Commission (PLASIE), Plateau State Government and two other defendants for advertising and conducting election for the office  of the chairman of Langtang North when his tenure had not yet elapsed.

Delivering judgement on Tuesday, the presiding judge, Justice Ishaku Kunda in a declarative judgement, reinstated Laven as the duly elected chairman of the local government.

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The court held that there was no local governmet election in Langtang North  Local Government on the 9th of October, 2021, in the eyes of the Law, as the seat of the Local Government chairman, Hon. Joshua Laven was not vacant at that time.

The Court in its computation and calculation said, the seat would only become vacant on 9th October, 2022.

The court awarded a  cost of N2.5million to Laven, against the defendants.

It would be recalled that Laven who is of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, in 2018 won the chairmanship of the local government but was not sworn in by the governor.

He therefore challenged the decision and won the case in 2019.

He was sworn in on October 9, 2019 for a tenure of three years to end October 9, 2022.

However, during the October 9, 2021 local government elections in the state, PLASIEC conducted election in the local government and a new chairman was sworn in.

Reacting to the judgment, Laven said that the rule of law binds the people and  expressed disappointment that the governor  who knows the rule of law was the one flouting it.

The chairman said that the people need to sit and protect democracy and that according to him was why he challenged his illegal removal from office when his tenure had not elapsed.

“My victory today is proof that, the law will always have its course, that nobody is above the law and that law is sacrosanct.

“I can assure you that those who have the boldness like me to challenge impunity will always have their way.

“I thank the judiciary for giving hope to the hopeless and for making today a reality. We also appreciate the press for their resilience to report the way it is.

“I am a product of rule of law, I won this election October 10, 2018. I was denied access to the office, I went to court, I got judgement on July 22, 2019 and I was sworn in on October 9, after I lost one year,” he said.

He vowed to stand by the mandate given to him by the people of Langtang North, stressing that he would not accept any alternative.

Laven stated that the mandate was for three years and not compromisable, adding the he would not play with it.

Rep Beni Lar (PDP, Langtang North/Langtang South) described the judgement as a test case as to whether the rule of law would be held in the local government election in Langtang North.

“Joshua Laven had only served for two years and we saw an advert, his position being advertised by PLASIEC for election and we wondered whether there was a constitution in Nigeria.

“Because if there is  a constitution in Nigeria and there is an electoral act that governs every election, PLASIEC who conducts elections disregarded the law.

“Today marks the victory for all Nigerians that stand for truth and justice, because the law stipulates that each elected local government chairman shall serve a term of three years.

“Plateau judiciary has proven to be a judiciary that works in accordance with the rule of law and I give them a pass mark for doing the right thing,” she said.

According to her, the judgment was a test case for Nigerians, that anybody who tempers with the mandate of an elected citizen, the elected citizen would have his/her mandate restored by the court.

She appealed to the executive to avoid the temptation of violating the law in their actions.

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