Photo: Plateau State Gov-elect, Caleb Mutfwang, 4th from left, dressed in Snow White, flanked on his right hand side by PDP counsel, Pius Akubo, SAN, Senator-elect, Plateau South, AVM Napoleon Bali, Rep Dachung Bagos, Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency, and on his left by Senator-elect, Plateau North, Dr Simon Mwadkwon, ex-chairman Langtang North, Hon Joshua Laven, with Hon Isaac Kwallu, Rep-elect, Shendam/Quaanpan/Mikang Federal Constituency behind him, among others, pose for group photo at the Supreme Court today in Abuja after the apex court’s ruling on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday in Abuja dismissed an interlocutory application filed by the Plateau State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a suit seeking to nullify earlier decisions of the Court of Appeal and Jos High Court, which had prohibited the party from participating in the state’s 2021 Local Government elections, for want of jurisdiction and merit.
The two courts below had barred PDP from fielding any candidates in the election on the ground that the party did not have or conduct a legitimate executive council election that produced the party’s candidates during the primary elections.
Delivering ruling on the application, the Supreme Court frowned at the manner in which the co-defendant, the All Progressives Congress, APC, had attempted to push the case for relisting through the back door.
It, therefore, dismissed the application forthwith following the decision of the APC’s counsel, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, to withdraw his application which sought to adjourn backward the date for relisting the case from its earlier adjourned date of September 11, 2023, to May 23, 2023.
The Court’s decision was also sequel to the consent of the counsel of the PDP, Mr Pius Akubo, SAN, to withdraw his application for want of merit, as there was no need to wait until the earlier September 11, 2023 adjourned date to hear the motion for relisting of the appeal, after the withdrawal of Fagbemi’s motion.
Periscope International reports that the Supreme Court had on December 7, 2022, struck out PDP’s substantive appeal in the matter for lack of diligent prosecution, following which the party filed the application for relisting the case in the apex court’s cause list.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, Akubo informed the court that his application for relisting the appeal had earlier been slated for September 11 but he was surprised to hear that it was brought back to May 23.
The Court then asked how the matter found its way back and was listed for determination on Tuesday, May 23.
Responding, Fagbemi told the court that he had applied to the Chief Justice of Nigeria requesting for the backward adjournment in order for the application to be heard on May 23, since it also bothered on issues that were raised at the Plateau State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.
While expressing its displeasure over the development, the apex court insisted that the appeal be withdrawn forthwith.
Consequently, Fagbemi and Akubo aligned themselves with the court, withdrew their respective applications and the case was dismissed.
Some legal luminaries told Periscope International that with the Supreme Court finally laying the matter to rest by declining jurisdiction, the long battle for the soul of Plateau State between APC and PDP now shifts to the Election Petitions Tribunal, where they are already slugging it out.