The recent outcome of the National Assembly election petitions tribunal is generating serious reactions in Plateau State. The development has set tongues wagging among staunch supporters and party faithful of various political parties in the state.
The leadership of the ruling party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and that of the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC) has continued to tackle each other over the tribunal’s judgement so far delivered.
First to raise alarm over what they perceived incorrect judgement was the PDP, saying it has rejected the National Assembly election tribunal judgments which set aside the elections of Senator Napoleon Bali (PDP) Plateau South and Peter Gyendeng, the member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom federal constituency.
The said tribunal had declared former Governor Simon Lalong of APC as winner of the Plateau South senatorial election, and Chollom Fom of the Labour Party (LP) as the winner of the Barkin Ladi/Riyom constituency.
According to the Tribunal, the judgment stands on the ground that PDP in the state did not have valid structure to contest the last general election.
But, state chairman of the party, Hon. Chris Hassan in a press conference in Jos, called for calm adding that PDP watched with dismay and trepidation the nullification of the elections of their Senator representing Plateau South and House of Representatives Member representing Barkin Ladi/Riyom Federal Constituency led by Hon Justice M .B. Tukur, and two others, Hon Justice Omaka Elewa and Hon Justice O. A. Adetujoye.
According to him, the Party rejects the outcome of the judgment in its entirety because justice was not served and it did not reflect the law and the interest of the majority of the people as freely expressed at the election.
“We have asked our lawyers to take the mandate of the Plateau people as their right of appeal to the Court of Appeal to reflect the wishes of the electorate. As a law-abiding Party, we will explore all available legal means to restore the victory of the PDP.”
In the same vein, the opposition party in the state, the APC also fired back stating their attention has been drawn to some reckless press statements by the Plateau State Chapter of the PDP and obviously state-sponsored protests aimed at distracting and diverting attention by whipping up ill-motivated sentiments against Judges of the Election Petitions Tribunal in the state.
The state publicity secretary of the party Sylvanus Namang while addressing newsmen in Jos, said it is important to state that before the Justice B.M. Tukur-led Tribunals meticulous, fair and just pronouncements, there were previous judgments by the Second Tribunal presided over by Justice Rotimi Williams who ruled against the APC and Labour Party in spite of overwhelming evidence and established position of the law.
The APC spokesman also called on the federal government and security agencies, to quickly intervene in the current attempt to plunge the state into another needless and avoidable cycle of violence and mayhem by especially arresting the ringleaders and perpetrators of these induced protests.