Photo: Sen. Simon Mwadkwon, Senate Minority Leader.
Tribunal judgments against Plateau PDP lawmakers dead on arrival
Sen. Simon Mwadkwon, Senate Minority Leader, has described the tribunal judgements nullifying the election of PDP National Assembly members in Plateau State as strange, null and void and dead on arrival, assuring that the decisions will be thrashed by the Court of Appeal.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Senator, Plateau North Senatorial District, who made this known in a statement issued in Abuja, described the decisions as a travesty of justice taken too far.
The lawmaker expressed confidence that the Appellate Court will not uphold the judgements because they were in breach of the Constitution, Electoral Act and clearly in contrast to recent Appeal Court and Supreme Court judgments on similar cases.
Mwadkwon, therefore, called on members and supporters of the PDP in Plateau State to remain calm.
“Those presently rejoicing inside their house of lies will face the reality of their self deceit when the Appeal Court takes the right decisions on the tribunal judgements,” he said.
Mwadkwon noted that the Presidential Election Petition Court judgement on the PDP suit on the nomination of President Bola Tinubu’s running mate for the February 2023 presidential election, Kashim Shettima, was clear enough as to who has the right to challenge nomination of political party candidates.
He said the Supreme Court had made it clear that no political party can challenge the nomination of the candidates of another political party.
Mwadkwon added that an election tribunal constitutionally has no jurisdiction to entertain the petition of another political party’s candidate bordering on the emergence of the latter’s candidates or the existence of its structure, hence the ruling was dead on arrival.
The lawmaker wondered how and why the tribunal could nullify the election of duly elected National Assembly members on the ground that they were invalidly nominated due to no party structure in the State, stressing that it was strictly a pre-election matter that is meant for the High Court and not an election tribunal.
The statement reads in part: “Even assuming, but not conceding, that the PDP had no structure in Plateau State as of the time the candidates were nominated, is it the State party structure that nominates candidates or the National?
“Was the national body of PDP that is legally empowered to nominate candidates for elections not the one that conducted the primary elections that produced our candidates?
“Or is it the duty of any other organ of a political party to conduct primary elections apart from the national body of the party?
“However, in the case of the PDP in Plateau State, the party duly complied with the judgment of Justice S.P. Gang and held a repeat congress in September 25, 2021.
“That congress was dutifully monitored by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as required by law.
“Consequently, the congress was affirmed by the Federal High Court’s judgment delivered by Justice D. V. Agishi in the case of Augustine Timkuk versus PDP.
“Furthermore, the judgement was unanimously affirmed by the Court of Appeal, Jos in favour of the PDP in a ruling by Justice T. Y. Hassan, Justice I. A. Andenyangtso and Justice O. O. Goodluck, delivered on 11 February, 2023.
“One now wonders where the tribunal got its ground of no party structure on which it nullified the elections of our duly elected National Assembly members.
“This is also considering the fact that one of the two panels of National and State House of Elections Tribunal headed by Justice Williams Olamide, in its own judgements, dismissed the ground on which the panel headed by Justice Mohammed Tukur, nullified elections of our party members.
“From whichever way one chooses to look at the judgments, they clearly stand logic and legal precedents on the head and will surely be nullified by the Appeal Court.
“Therefore, our people should remain calm, with assurance that those they willingly elected will serve their terms and deliver their electoral promises.”